Kei Nishikori decided not to play Monte Carlo because he did not want to play five straight weeks on clay courts. But the world No. 5 is playing Barcelona this week, and will also play Madrid and Rome.
Nishikori mentioned that younger players are looking to upset the elder players and shatter their dominance in Tennis.
“It’s great to come into the Top 5. I know, it’s not easy to keep this position,” Nishikori said. “Top 4 is very good, especially [Novak] Djokovic, who is winning almost all the tournaments he plays. However, Milos [Raonic] and I are getting closer and it’s good for Tennis to have some competition.”
“There are so many things I have to do to improve my ranking. I have to be tougher, I have to improve my consistency and concentration, especially on important points. There are so many things to do, but I feel I am getting closer to beating them.”
However, the young Japanese aims big at Barcelona and looks to defeat the king of clay on a clay court, that hasn’t been done by many in the open era. He desperately wants to take down Rafael Nadal in order to win the Barcelona title. Last year, Kei lost to Nicolas Almagro in the quarterfinals whereas the Spaniard is a defending champion here at Barcelona.
“My goal is always to beat Rafa though he has beaten me seven times already. I think I am getting closer every match,” said Nishikori. “He is great player especially on clay. It’s a really tough challenge.”
It will be interesting to see the hard fought battle between Nishikori and Nadal at Barcelona where the Japanese is a top seed and has been seeded above the Spaniard for the very first time.