“Didn’t Expect He Would Reach Where He Is Now”: Kei Nishikori Reveals Longtime Relationship With Sebastian Korda

Published 06/16/2021, 7:00 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 2, 2021 Japan’s Kei Nishikori reacts during his second round match against Russia’s Karen Khachanov REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier


Japanese star Kei Nishikori has returned to regular tennis in the current season. After being troubled by elbow injuries, the former World No. 4 is back to playing tournaments on the circuit. He is currently in Halle, adapting and getting some matches under his belt on grass-court.

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Ahead of his next round match, Kei Nishikori opened up on opponent Sebastian Korda. The Japanese player has seen the American youngster ever since he was a kid. He first saw Sebastian when he accompanied his father, who was a coach to former player Radek Stepanek. He praised him for having strong attributes in his game, such as his serve and volley.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 2, 2021, Japan’s Kei Nishikori in action during his second round match against Russia’s Karen Khachanov REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

The 2014 US Open finalist stated, “I’ve known Korda well since he was a little child. His father was a coach of Stepanek and often accompanied his kid (Sebastian). I didn’t expect he would reach where he is now. He has a good serve, solid stroke, and good volley has the potential to reach the top.

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“It’s our first meeting in a match, but we have practiced together many times, I’m excited to play him in many ways.”

Kei Nishikori is familiar with Sebastian Korda

Nishikori has practiced with the American player on a few occasions. However, playing in a match is a different situation as things come down to tactics. The Japanese athlete still feels he needs to work on his game as far as playing on the grass-courts is concerned. He admitted his movements were slow and that he needs to speed up his court coverage in the upcoming match.

Mar 30, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Sebastian Korda of the United States hits a forehand against Diego Schwartzman of Argentina (not pictured) in the fourth round in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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I’ve known Korda well since he was a little child. His father was a coach of Stepanek and often accompanied his kid (Sebastian). I didn’t expect he would reach where he is now.

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He has good serve, solid stroke, and good volley, has potential to reach the top.

— 井蛙堂 (@seiadoumogera) June 16, 2021

The 2016 Olympic Bronze Medalist further added, “On the grass when I start moving after a stop, I can’t make use of my speed, it’s difficult to gain speed on turning back on grass or clay.”

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Kei and Sebastian will compete to book a spot in the quarterfinals at the ATP Halle Open 2021. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

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Rohan Kollare

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Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.

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