“My Idol”: Kei Nishikori Wishes to Play Against Roger Federer at ATP Masters 1000

Published 03/22/2021, 6:00 AM EDT
KEY BISCAYNE, FL – MARCH 26: Roger Federer of Switzerland shakes hands at the net after his three set defeat by Kei Nishikori of Japan during their quarter final round match during day 10 at the Sony Open at Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 26, 2014 in Key Biscayne, Florida. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


Veteran Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori has revealed who he would like to play in his dream ATP Masters 1000 match. The 31-year-old Nishikori, who is striving to rise from a career slump and work his way up the rankings again, said that playing 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer would qualify as a dream match for him at an ATP Masters 1000 tournament.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

“It is just fun to play against him”: Nishikori on Federer

Currently ranked 39th in singles, the Japanese said that he considers the Swiss champion as his “idol” and would love to fight him on a tennis court a couple more times before he is done.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

“I would play Roger because he is my idol”, Nishikori told atptour.com. “If we can play a couple more times, it would be great because it is just fun to play against him.”

Tennis – ATP Cup – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 6, 2021 Japan’s Kei Nishikori in action during his group stage match against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

After suffering an ignominious opening-round exit at this year’s Australian Open, the 31-year-old Japanese has taken some strides in rediscovering his best form.

Shrugging off his first-round loss to Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta at Melbourne Park and eyeing a return to the Top-10 in singles, Nishikori reached the quarter-finals at ATP Rotterdam and the Dubai Open.

Kei Nishikori says he’s sure Roger Federer will play for a couple more years

On Federer’s comeback at the recent Qatar Open after a 14-month injury-enforced absence and his future in the game, the Japanese said that he would dearly want the 39-year-old Swiss to carry on for, at least, a couple of years, adding that there’s a lot to learn just by watching him in action.

“I am sure he is going to play a couple more years. Before he retires, I want to play him a couple more times,” Nishikori said.

He added that while playing the Swiss at any level in a tournament is a challenge as much as it is a privilege, he wishes to play him in a final.

While the Japanese went down to Croatian Borna Coric in the quarter-finals at Rotterdam, he lost to rising South African and eventual finalist Lloyd Harris in the last-eight clash in Dubai.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

However, his dream of meeting Federer at a Masters 1000 event would have to wait as the Swiss, along with Big Three rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, as well as a host of other top stars, have pulled out of this year’s Miami Open.

DIVE DEEPER

Roger Federer Reveals How He Kept the ‘Fire Burning’ for 20 Years

5 months ago

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

 

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Priyabrata Chowdhury

833 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT