“His Ranking Is Much Higher”: Rafael Nadal Reveals How Kei Nishikori Can Enter in Top 10 Rankings

Published 04/23/2021, 9:30 AM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 11, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal acknowledges a fan during his second round match against Michael Mmoh of the U.S. REUTERS/Loren Elliott


King of Clay, Rafael Nadal, yet again survived at the brink of defeat in the Barcelona Open 2021. The Spaniard defeated Japanese No. 1 Kei Nishikori 6-0, 2-6, 6-2. Consequently, he reflected on Kei’s future in the ATP Rankings in his post-match conference.

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The 11-time Barcelona champ had not faced three consecutive three-setters on clay since 2015. However, standing true to his reputation, the 34-year-old did not give up and now has a place in the quarterfinal.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 16, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Russia’s Andrey Rublev REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Kei Nishikori has had a career plagued by injuries but is slowly surging back to form on the ATP tour. Although he saw a bagel in the first set against the Mallorcan, he pulled his socks up and fought exquisitely until the last game.

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Rafael Nadal, 34, never falls short of appreciating tough opponents or matches. So when asked about whether Nishikori would return to the Top 10, he gave a positive response.

“I think Kei played a great level of tennis after that first set no. Have been a very very tough match; anything could happen,” Nadal began. “His ranking is not this one, is much higher, but of course, as everyone, he needs to stay healthy for some time.”

Furthermore, Rafa addressed the importance of staying match fit consistently to become a Top 10 player. Thus, he believes that the former World No. 4 needs to maintain the same level for two more years.

“Because if not, I know very well how it works, and if you are on and off then very often, then it’s super difficult no. Yes, he can come back if he has the motivation to come back and if he is able to be healthy for a couple of years. Of course, yes,” the Spaniard concluded.

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Nadal will next face British player Cameron Norrie for a seat in the semifinals. Going by his performances this year, Norrie will not let the Spaniard steamroll over him.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 16, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his quarter final match against Russia’s Andrey Rublev REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

From here on, the Barcelona draw will get denser and more troublesome. The expected semifinalist against Nadal is another clay-court specialist, Argentine World No. 9 Diego Schwartzman. Moreover, Diego has once beaten Nadal on clay; he defeated the Spaniard in the 2020 Italian Open quarterfinal.

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On the other side, the fight is alive for the final between Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Jannik Sinner.

Who do you think will become the Barcelona Open 2021 champion?

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Purav Joshi

682 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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