Inoue’s rise credited to freshman improvements


Matt Crow

Wichita State Sophomore Haru Inoue returns the ball against Denver. (File photo)

Men’s tennis coach Danny Bryan brought in a new emphasis on utilizing the weight room and each player was expected to use the equipment to strengthen their game.

Sophomore Haru Inoue was new to the weight room, not even starting to lift the 45-lbs bar.

The coaches wanted Inoue to increase his offensive game: to become more than a grinder. That began in the weight room.

“When we first got here it was very obvious to us how good Haru was and how much better he could get,” assistant coach Justin DeSanto said.

Inoue started lifting at 20 lbs and after almost a year of training, Inoue has doubled his lifting weight at around 50 lbs.

He was a counter-puncher that, as a freshman, had thrived between the three and five spot in the singles rotation. He was a combined 11-0 when playing the three or four slot and finished the year overall at 19-6 in singles.

As a sophomore, he built on his first year success. Inoue beat Alex Brown in the USTA Future’s Player’s Choice Open. Brown is a blue chip recruit for the University of Illinois. Inoue finished the fall on a high note with four wins at the Gopher Invitational in Minnesota.

“Haru is a grinder,” senior Jocelyn Devilliers said. “He always makes the match harder for you.”

This set up Haru for a chance to be the number one singles player in the spring for the Shockers.

He struggled at first, losing his first three matches at the no. 1 spot. The top spot increased the level of player he saw every match.

According to Inoue, his confidence began to build after his win against Texas’ no.11 Christian Sigsgaard 6-2, 7-5.

Inoue continues to get better for the Shockers, with his eyes set on something bigger than college tennis.

“Right now I am thinking I want to play professional [tennis],” Inoue said.

Inoue realizes he still has a lot to work for before he can reach his goal.

I to be better physically and mentally,” Inoue said. “The coaches have good experience so they know why to do to be professional.”