“Getting Back My Good Feelings”: Kei Nishikori Hopeful of Breaking Back Into Top-10

Published 03/05/2021, 9:29 AM EST
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 his opening-round defeat at this year’s Australian Open, Japanese star Kei Nishikori has taken some strides at redemption in the ongoing ATP Rotterdam Open.

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He snared two big fishes – last year’s losing finalist Felix Auger-Aliassime and rising Australian star Alex De Minaur in his opening two rounds in the Dutch city to storm into last-eight.

His three-set win over the Aussie on Wednesday saw him book a quarter date with Spaniard Borna Coric.

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Kei Nishikori claims he doesn’t feel any weakness in his game right now

Delighted with his run of form and his level of fitness, the 45th-ranked Japanese has said he is hopeful of breaking back into the Top-10.

In a chat ahead of his quarters clash, Nishikori claimed he doesn’t feel any apparent “weakness” in his play right now, adding that he is focused on acquiring a “Top-10 player-like mentality” to make further strides up the ranking ladder.

Tennis – ATP Cup – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Kei Nishikori during his group stage match against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

“I’m kind of convinced that I’m getting back my good feelings, at least I don’t feel like I’m short of good feelings when (hitting) balls, so I can’t use that as an excuse any more,” the 31-year-old Japanese said.

He added that his impressive wins against “good players” have filled him with new zeal and belief.

Kei Nishikori says there are areas in his game that need more work

Nishikori said not being able to play to his potential does affect him mentally, leaving him frustrated and exhausted.

However, he said that while he is “happy” to have come out of that phase, there are aspects of his game that need more work.

“I had trouble holding my serve in (the) last couple of matches and let my opponents play comfortably,” the Japanese said, adding, “…sometimes, I can’t get into a match well.”

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However, Nishikori affirmed that he is happy with his progress and as for the flaws that need ironing out, he is “almost there”.

With the Japanese brimming with new confidence, Coric can expect a tough contest in the quarters on Saturday.

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If anything, his tame exit at the Australian Open seems to have made him determined to lift his first Tour title this year in the Dutch city.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

840 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.

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