Rinky Hijikata has been left rocked by a deadly shooting at his girlfriend’s school just as the rising Australian tennis star was notching the biggest win of his burgeoning career.
Hijikata toiled for almost four hours to carve out a 7-5 5-7 6-3 7-5 first-round US Open victory over Russian Pavel Kotov to reach the second round of a grand slam outside of Australia for the first time.
But the wildcard’s watershed win was swiftly overshadowed by a fatal shooting at the University of North Carolina, where Hijikata spent two years.
A suspect is in custody after a faculty member was killed and terrorised students had to shelter for hours as police looked for the gunman.
“I was pretty happy with the win today but that’s kind of put a dampener on it, to be honest,” Hijikata said.
“First and foremost I want to send my thoughts and prayers to everyone back in Chapel Hill because…