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Tabloids focus on Ai-chan's love life

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Ai loves Kei and Kei loves Ai, if the tabloid photos don’t lie -- but is their passion undermining their performance on the court?

That’s what a gaggle of news hounds on hand at Narita airport to greet homecoming ping pong ace Ai Fukuhara wanted to know, says Sankei Sports (Dec 3).

“Ai-chan,” 20, and tennis star Kei Nishikori, 18, had the good or bad luck, while strolling hand in hand in Tokyo’s Shinjuku, to be spotted by a photographer for the weekly magazine Friday. The resulting photo appeared in the magazine’s Nov 20 edition. The following week there they were again in the same magazine, this time sharing a deep kiss.

On Dec 2 Ai-chan, just back from a European tour, faced the 50-odd reporters waiting for her at Narita. She was very pale, Sankei Sports tells us, and walked with her head bowed -- but she did not, the newspaper declares pointedly, deny the love rumors that were uppermost in their minds.

They fired questions at her: “Is your relationship with Nishikori going well?” “Are you in touch with him?” “Are you going to spend Christmas together?”

Apparently abashed, she flinched a bit and seemed almost on the point of tears. She rallied sufficiently to say, “I apologize for causing trouble. I would like now to do my best to be able to improve my game.”

That’s the problem. Her game does need a little improving. Following the exposure in Friday, Fukuhara lost the quarterfinal match at the Germany Open, then lost three in a row at the Polish Open -- this even without the redoubtable participation of China. Were personal feelings sapping her concentration?

The romance, said to date from the Beijing Olympics, has the approval at least of Ai-chan’s dad. ”It does have its heartwarming aspects, doesn’t it?” says Takehiko Fukuhara, 66. “As long, that is,” he adds, “as it makes them better competitors.”

We’ll know soon enough; she is scheduled to grace the All Japan matches in Tokyo Jan 13-18.

Nishikori, meanwhile, is training in Florida for his appearance next month at the Australian Open. When he’ll be in Japan next is anyone’s guess. Not for Christmas, apparently. Sankei Sports wishes them a happy “long-distance love rally.”

© Japan Today

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.


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Apparently abashed, she flinched a bit and seemed almost on the point of tears. She rallied sufficiently to say, “I apologize for causing trouble. I would like now to do my best to be able to improve my game.”

You know, she is a ping-pong player with a good backhand. This was actually a backhanded smash to the papparazzi. Nobody got the sarcasm from Ai-chan. She was furious. She's not the once causing trouble.

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"Were personal feelings sapping her concentration?"

Personal feelings of hatred for the nosy, pesky, insipid media who seem to think that if they're interested in someone, that person loses all rights to privacy.

Ai and Kei should tell these ridiculous paparazzi to drop dead.

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Ai and Kei should tell these ridiculous paparazzi to drop dead.

She did, through her fake "apology". The dense media were the last to get it. She's a smart one, that Ai-chan. The way she stopped dead in her tracks and turned around to face the press at the airport was like a scene from a movie. She stood her ground and delivered a volley. Touche!

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Did she yell out "Saa!?"

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why all the fuss over Fukuhara? She's ranked 17th in a less than high-profile sport. And what's more, she's not exactly an oil painting, is she.

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What some posters here think of her and the general public are two entirely different things. She is extremely popular, whether you like it (or her) or not and I hop she will do well in January!

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Tabloids are meant for that.

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razor: But you meant; didn't she bleat out "saaa. " with a little fist pump?

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Were personal feelings sapping her concentration?

I am with Thon. If anything is ruining her game its the photographers and the press. It should be illegal for them to print such pictures without express permission from the subjects.

And what's more, she's not exactly an oil painting, is she.

She was so much cuter when she was younger. I think people see her the way they expected her to turn out rather than the way she did.

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They fired questions at her: “Is your relationship with Nishikori going well?” “Are you in touch with him?” “Are you going to spend Christmas together?”

Wouldn't it be cool if one of the reporters yelled at the others "Shut up! That is none of your business!" Maybe one day...

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I have very little sympathy for Ai-chan, especially now that she's getting press that is worse than before. When she was on top of her game, and heading to Athens and Beijing, she didn't mind all the press. now that she has an alleged fling that's messing up her game, she's telling the press where to get off. I say, if a starlet or celeb is goign to take the good press, then they oughtt o be grown up enough to take the bad. ai-chan was called "kawaii" for so long because of her little "Saa!" and fist-pump. now that the press is questioning her "love" life, and making it look (and showing her looking) bad, she should be grown-up enough to accept it. She's a grown woman now, and legally and adult in this country.

I say to her: stop being a brat, take your medicine, and keep your private life private, and your little mouth shut if things aren't going your way. If you don't like the press when they're less-than-nice, then don't love them when they love you undeservedly....

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I had no idea a table-tennis life wound be fraught with aversion. -these are difficult times indeed!

Hit the ball(s) Ai-Chan, paddle away.

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she's telling the press where to get off

stop being a brat, take your medicine, and keep your private life private, and your little mouth shut if things aren't going your way.

“I apologize for causing trouble. I would like now to do my best to be able to improve my game.”

Bratty, really, wow she really showed the press where to go. Such a disrespectful attitude she really should keep her mouth shut. Perhaps she could have just punched or whacked some of them around with an umbrella. Get a grip, she did not even use vulgarities.

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Leave it to Japan's sports "reporters" (and that includes TV) to distract the athletes and contribute to poor performances. Whether it is harassing them over invasions of privacy (Ai-chan's love life) or changing schedules to suit J-TV (football game played in 40 degree heat) leave it to J-media to record every moment of defeat - after all it is their defeat too, but too dim to realize it.

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"I apologize for causing trouble. I would like now to do my best to be able to improve my game".

For a country that is supposedly so advanced, it is so emotionally way behind. To be embarrassed because you were caught out in the open with a new boyfriend, it just so lame it itself is so embarrassing. How many times have we seen simlar articles on JT with someone making a silly comment like because they don't know how to handle the situation.

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Oh yes! Ever get the feeling you're back in high school? Man! a 20 year old and an 18 year old holding hands?! WHoooo! germs!

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Why do so many people care about what celebrities are doing? They (the public) should spend more time focusing on their own lives.

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hahaha I knew an Ai story would bring Bluetiger out, always hits a nerve it seems. Japanese paparazzi are as inhuman as any others, but with dumber questions.

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matched only by the dumber responses of their targets

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Nishikori has the solution to the tabloid problem - train in America like the figure skaters do. No one will bother you.

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Ahhhh, "fist pump"...

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Ai chan and Nishikori, both overrated, show me a winner please... these B grade sportspeople are a yawn (you too Ryo)

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Japan tabloids are as bad as the English tabloids

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Am I alone in being singualry removed from all interest in a ping-pong player? Should I care if she, not much removed from the mere stroppy child she was is now entering into adult relationships? Should I worry about wheteher or not her emergining sexuality will affect her ability to hit a streessed plastic ball? Can I be forgiven for not giving a back hand return? It is FKG PING PONG!

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How childish....anyway,is the tennis kid blind ??! He can have anyone with his money.

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This has to be the stupidest story ever reported...

I don't why such a stupid story would ever be posted.

I could care less about Ai-chan's relationship which is her own business.

I don't know why Japanese press is so obsessed reporting such a stupid story.

If she wants to shag some dude, then that is her business.

So she likes a tennis dude, who cares??

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Fighton: why do you care to comment at all then?

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"I apologize for causing trouble. I would like now to do my best to be able to improve my game".

For a country that is supposedly so advanced, it is so emotionally way behind. To be embarrassed because you were caught out in the open with a new boyfriend, it just so lame it itself is so embarrassing. How many times have we seen simlar articles on JT with someone making a silly comment like because they don't know how to handle the situation.

I think her apology is for the lapse in discipline that she herself must know she's exhibited. Not for being caught having a life.

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What the heck is she apologizing for, holding hands, and kissing? Why? Are the reporters afraid "girls have cooties"? It's not like they were caught coming out of a love hotel together, and even then its nobody's business. I think these reporters are jealous of Kei, the female reporters included. I hope Ai gets her game back.

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The way stupid Japanese press is so concerned about her stupid love life, I guess she is not allowed to fall in love. Nor is she allowed to have sex... Did Ai-chan commit a crime??

Jeez, this is such a stupid story. Maybe the authorities should lock Ai-chan behind bars for holding hands with some tennis dude.. Kissing is also a crime too, for Ai-chan's world. She is only allowed to play table tennis..

There are more important stories to talk about, but the pathetic Japanese media has to focus on some table tennis player's love life.

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Tabloids reporters are scum.

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Aya Sugimoto clamors for attention in order to get it and Ai-chan is just the opposite.

-if Ai-chan doesn't win this battle maybe she too will fall prey to the media like Aya. Don't give up Ai-chan! You can win this battle of love on your terms.

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I hate tabloid journalism and paparazzi, unfortunately there are a lot of people who thrive on that crap. Ai did a good job, her response was appropriate.

One thing I am really tired of is people getting their shorts in a twist about Ai saying saa and pumping her fist. Do you even watch other ping pong players? They do the same, or similar things, when they get a point too. It's a natural reaction, like spiking a ball after a touchdown, so get over it.

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What does she need to apologise for anyway? Bizarre.

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Potsu: How childish....anyway,is the tennis kid blind ??! He can have anyone with his money.

Dont you already know that J girls are 'subarashii'..when it comes to chasing after men...regardless of how ugly they look....lol

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So Ai-chan lost some games. Where is the news on that?

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Likeitis... "She was so much cuter when she was younger. I think people see her the way they expected her to turn out rather than the way she did."

I've been wondering why Japan still follows this young lady and you answered my question perfectly. Thanks.

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btw: I met Ai Chan a couple of years ago. She had her sweater worn inside out...lol. I corrected it for her...on 2nd thought I should have informed the media...since they are too nosey about her....:)

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what the hell is up with that chick, ai??? why is she getting so much publicity??? seriously, olympic gold medalists don't get as much attention as she does. ai didn't get any medals. and she's so freakin overrated. what the hell is goin on??? japan needs to give olympic medalists more attention and respect. they should ignore that overrated ping pong loser!!!

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Good Jorb - Yeah, that apology was full of sentiment and true feelings, wasn't it? If you really believe that, I've a bridge for sale for you, over in Brooklyn....

BlackFlag - She's getting her comeuppance, and it isn't sitting too well with her, is it? All I've to say is this: Ai-chan is overrated....

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