411OnTheForty — Part 4: Get to know Yuya Ito

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Yuya Ito Trophy
Yua Ito
(photo courtesy texassports.com)

By Riley Zayas

Yuya Ito was constant force for the Texas men's tennis team, playing a key role in the 2019 national championship victory over Wake Forest and in huge dual match wins over No. 1 Florida, No. 8 Stanford and No. 18 Georgia during the 2020 spring season. After graduating with a degree economics this past May, Ito has decided to turn pro, and leaves a legacy of success on the Forty Acres behind.

Yuya Ito has chosen to skip the extra year of eligibility granted to student-athletes competing in spring sports in order to turn professional (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

3 Facts:

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  1. A native of Yokohama, Japan, Ito represented his home country in both the 2017 and 2019 World University Games and 2018 Asian Games, where he earned a bronze medal in doubles play.
  2. He traveled over 4,800 miles for high school at St. Peter's College in Australia, which his parents believed would teach him English (he knew hardly any when he arrived) and further his academic and tennis career.
  3. Throughout high school, Ito was mentored by two time NCAA All-America and UNLV alum Luke Smith. "Having Luke as my mentor and coach was just incredible to me," Ito said of Smith.
Yuya Ito leaves Texas with 111 career singles victories, the No. 5 total in program history (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

2 Accomplishments:

  1. In 2019, Ito became just the third player since 1979 to win the singles title of the ITA All-American and ITA Fall Nationals in the same year.
  2. He finishes his career on the Forty Acres ranked fifth all-time in career singles victories with 111.

1 Quote:

"Simply being on the team gave me so much joy on and off the court, so it was definitely one of the hardest decisions I've had to make in my life," Ito said. "The resources that we were given as student-athletes at Texas were just incredible, and it was nothing close to what I imagined before coming. I was surrounded by great teammates throughout my four years, so I'd like to thank everyone for making my time at Texas so incredible."

Riley Zayas

Riley Zayas is a high school sophomore and freelance journalist from Round Rock, Texas. He began his journalism career as a Sports Illustrated Kids reporter and has since become a regular contributor to Horns Illustrated, covering Texas Longhorn sports. His work also includes Fellowship of Christian Athletes publications, College Baseball Nation and Sports Spectrum, a national christian sports website. He currently serves as the Managing Editor of True To The Cru, covering UMHB athletics. Twitter: @ZayasRiley

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