Fri. Dec 9th, 2022
Masako Katsura First Lady of Billiards How She Got There

At the Women’s World Pool Championships this year, Masako Katsura became the first woman in history to win the title of world champion in both eight-ball and nine-ball pools. She has also won multiple women’s world championships in three-cushion billiards, making her one of the most successful female players in the sport’s history. How did she get there? Through hard work, talent, and smart decision-making, as you will soon see.

Katsura’s humble beginnings

Born in Yokohama, Japan, Masako Katsura had an interest in sports from a young age. She started playing billiards when she was 12 years old and began practicing the game all the time to perfect her skills. When she was 18, she became the youngest female player to win a championship.

Masako Katsura's humble beginnings
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In 1973, she became the first woman to be inducted into the World Hall of Fame. After working as a top-ranked player for many years and competing against some of the best male players in the world, Masako retired from professional competition at age 26. After retiring, she married an American man who had become her mentor and best friend while they were both living in America.

Although she retired at 26 and had a family, Masako still stays active in her sport. In addition to being involved with several charitable organizations in Japan, she travels all over America as an ambassador for both billiards and women’s sports. Her experiences have been published in magazines and books and have even been turned into TV specials. In 1993, she was inducted into the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Her introduction to billiards

Masako Katsura is a Japanese-born, American-based professional billiard player. From the age of three, she had been the top ranked female player in Japan. In 1994, she moved to America and became the first woman to be inducted into the American Professional Billiard Association Hall of Fame.

She had reached the top in her native country by age eleven, but it wasn’t until years later that she became one of America’s most dominant champions. Today, at age forty-eight, Masako is still considered one of the world’s best female players and is a role model for many other aspiring players worldwide.

Training with the pros

In the 1960s, Masako Katsura was able to catch the eye of professional billiards player Jimmy Fricke. They had a short-lived relationship, but it was enough to get her hooked on the game. She then went on to train with the best players in Japan as well as try out for major league teams in America and Europe. Her skill set made her one of the best female players in Japan. By the time she retired from professional play, she had won 9 national championships.

masako katsura training with pros
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I wanted to be like my father a great player who everyone admired. But I found that there were many more steps involved than just playing a good game of pool. I always wanted to be number one in everything I did and this drove me hard toward success in both my career and personal life.

In 1978 she founded the first Japanese pro-am team (Showa Women’s Pro-Am) which eventually became known as Team WPCJ.

Becoming the First Lady of Billiards

Masako Katsura is the first and only female player to ever make it on the list of Top Twenty Players in History. She also won numerous championships, including the Women’s World Championships. Masako credits her success to her father who taught her how to play billiards at a very young age.

In fact, Masako was so talented that she skipped a whole grade in school just so that she could play more billiards. On top of that, Masako would often practice from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m., making sure to never miss an opportunity for improvement. And when she wasn’t practicing, she was studying English or playing sports such as tennis, table tennis, and badminton to keep herself in shape for billiards.

Her legacy

Masako Katsura is one of the greatest pool players in the world, being a 9-time World Champion and 11-time U.S. Open Champion. Her legacy is well documented as she was inducted into the Women’s Professional Billiard Association Hall of Fame in 2001 and has been featured on shows such as ESPN Sports Center and Lifetime TV’s Ladies Night Out II.

This formidable woman started her career at an early age with her father, who had helped teach her how to play when she was just seven years old. Masako credits him for introducing her to the game and giving her a love for billiards that would follow her throughout life.

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