“Long Way”: Kei Nishikori Vows to Return to Top 5 After Incredible Return To Tour

Published 03/17/2021, 10:56 AM EDT
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


Kei Nishikori is one of the most successful Asian tennis players to have played the game. He was the first Asian player to reach a Grand Slam final at the US Open in 2014. In the 2016 Olympic Games, the Japanese player won the bronze medal after beating Rafael Nadal. 

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After being on the sidelines for several months, Kei Nishikori returned on Tour earlier this year. He had incessant problems with his shoulder and elbow. Recently, Kei expressed his desire to climb up on the rankings and return to the top five. He went on and termed it as his second return on Tour. 

Kei Nishikori of Japan playa a backhand his match against Grigor Dimitrov during day five of the 2019 Brisbane International at Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Kei Nishikori: “I have to be tough”

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The 31-year-old Japanese star stated, “If I want to come back to my level before, I have to be tough. You have to think more, and you have many more expectations. But the way I think now is [that] this is my second [career] journey. I had elbow surgery two years ago, a shoulder injury last year, and couldn’t play for three or four months. I’ve had many injuries.”

After returning on Tour, Nishikori is aware of the rise of the youngsters in the sport. He feels the need to improve on his matches against the top 50 players and is ready for the challenge. 

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

The four-time Australian Open quarterfinalist added, “I have to be happy, and I’ve been playing well [over] the past two weeks. My goal is to return to the Top 10, [the] Top 5 hopefully. I think it will be a long way back because everyone is playing well. I have to step up more against Top 50 opponents, but I’ve been enjoying the challenge.”

The Japanese player is currently in Dubai, competing at the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships. He won his opening round match against David Goffin yesterday.

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Rohan Kollare

579 articles

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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