By TREVOR WONG
Rafu Staff Intern
“Perfect practice makes perfect.”
For Jordan Kimura, that phrase could not be more scripted.
This past season, the 19-year-old tennis player from Laguna Niguel finished with a perfect 22-0 record at Concordia University. To add to her impressive feat, Kimura also received NAIA All-American, All-Golden State Athletic Conference (All-GSAC) for the second consecutive year and other numerous individual awards.
But as easy as Kimura makes everything look, it just didn’t come naturally – whether it be on the tennis court or in the classroom, Kimura stuck to the values instilled by her parents.
“My parents always said to walk with confidence towards my goals and to always try my hardest,” she said.
And that’s exactly what Kimura did.
After a neighbor introduced her to tennis, Kimura immediately fell in love with the game.
“When I began playing, I knew it was for me,” she said.
Not only did Kimura realize her passion for the game, but her instructor saw the talent she possessed.
“The instructor said that I had excellent eye-hand coordination and high potential,” she said. “From then on I attended more group clinics and entered my first United States Tennis Association Junior Tournament at eight-years-old. I began private lessons soon after that and junior tennis became my way of life.”
As she grew older, Kimura’s work ethic that was instilled at an early age carried over into high school. She enrolled in community college courses to finish high school two years early – not only did she just graduate early but she did so with summa cum laude honors. On top of that, she maintained a top 10 ranking in tennis singles and doubles in Southern California.
But it wasn’t just a fluke that Kimura accomplished any of this – all the hard work, discipline and training from years of playing junior tennis prepared her for the rigors of college inside the classroom and on the tennis court as well.
And though she was well on her way to earning the distinction of being a five-star recruit and achieving numerous other accomplishments during her high school career, Kimura never looked back on her decision to leave school early. Despite heavy recruiting to play tennis from Division-I schools across the country, she instead decided to stay close to home, placing a greater importance on academics.
“[Graduating early] was definitely the right choice for me,” she said. “It worked out for the best because my goal had always been to have tennis support my academics, which always came first for me because that is long-term.”
But even more important than academics, Kimura thought of her family.
“My sister was born with special needs, so that was another reason why I wanted to stay close to home,” she said.
And even though she faces challenges in the classroom or even on the tennis court, it is nothing compared to what her sister has dealt with.
“The orthopedist had told us that she might never walk because of her low muscle tone,” she said. “But today she is a runner, does yoga and is the happiest person I know.”
So, whenever Kimura faces obstacles, she is reminded of her sister and how she fought to overcome overwhelming odds – and she is reminded yet again of the values instilled by her parents as a young child.
“Whenever I am facing a challenge, I think of the life lessons I’ve learned from my parents and on the court about overcoming adversity and giving it my all. I also am so inspired by my sister who gives her all in everything she does,” she said.
Though her play on the tennis court comes from many hours of hard work, Kimura doesn’t take pride in the fact that she is just playing tennis – she feels blessed to have the opportunity to do what she is passionate about.
“It has been so rewarding to be able to get paid to do what you love. In my case, my tennis has paid for my college,” she said.
For Kimura, it’s not about winning every single match or achieving individual awards for her own sake.
She is doing exactly what she loves. To have the opportunity to attend Concordia, play tennis and stay close to family – that in its own right is what makes it so perfect.