A guitar-playing, martial arts fan, Oda said it was special to know Kunieda was now commentating on his own tennis heroics in the final back to a Japanese audience.
“He is a legend for me, but not only for me, but for everybody, for wheelchair tennis, for tennis as well. I am a big fan of his,” Oda said.
“I was sad about his retirement when I heard of it. But now I am making other history after his retirement. I have a little pressure on me … but I will always be myself.”
An impressive journey
Oda, who was born in the Aichi Prefecture in central Japan, was diagnosed with bone cancer in his left hip as a nine-year-old. His career as a wheelchair player began a year later.
He could never have imagined that within seven years he would be playing on Court Philippe-Chatrier with enthusiastic support from Japanese fans.
“The dream when I started to play tennis when I was in hospital, I was watching a lot of matches,” he said.
“I was really looking forward to this stage. It has been seven years, I think. This year we have two more Grand Slams in London and New York and I am looking forward to that.”