David Goffin Unhappy with Conditions at Dubai Tennis Championships 2021 After Loss Against Kei Nishikori

Published 03/17/2021, 2:49 AM EDT
Belgium’s David Goffin in action during his second round match Croatia’s Marin Cilic Pool via REUTERS/Clive Brunskill

Veteran Belgian tennis star David Goffin has blamed his Dubai Open exit on his inability to adapt or adjust to the “super fast” playing surface.


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Currently placed at 13th in the singles rankings, Goffin crashed out in his tournament opener on Tuesday after losing in straight sets to Japanese star Kei Nishikori.

David Goffin said he struggled to adjust to the fast Dubai court in his loss to Kei


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Speaking to media persons after the match, the 30-year-old Belgian said that the ball seemed to zip off the court like grease lightning and he felt “late” when it came to winding up for his shots.

“I know now why I didn’t come to Dubai in the past because it’s very tough, it’s so fast, fast to control,” Goffin said.

However, despite the defeat and Goffin’s apparent struggles with the surface, there wasn’t much to separate the two players in terms of match stats. Both recorded almost similar percentage of points won off the first serve and created the same number of breakpoint opportunities.

However, it was in the key moments where Nishikori edged out the Belgian.

Belgium’s David Goffin in action during his first round match against Italy’s Jannik Sinner. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Goffin said the “super fast” playing surface in Dubai wasn’t ideally suited to his game

While the opening set was decisive in the sense that the Japanese won by a comfortable 6-3 margin, the second was too close to call for the better part of 12 games.

It went to a tiebreak where the Japanese opened out a slight lead over Goffin and held on it to close out the contest. The eventual scoreline read 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) in favor of Nishikori.

Goffin conceded that such fast surfaces aren’t ideally suited for his game, adding that with Nishikori playing close to his best, it made it all the more difficult to finish on the winning side.

“It’s not easy for my game, especially when you play Kei,” the Belgian said.


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On the comeback road himself after a lean spell in terms of results, Nishikori managed to get some wins under his belt at the recent Rotterdam Open.

He reached the tournament quarters on the back of wins over rising Canadian star Felix Auger-Aliassime and fast-moving Australian Alex De Minaur. However, his campaign ended in the last-eight after he went down fighting to Croatian Borna Coric.


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Priyabrata Chowdhury

850 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.