“Play-Off With Rafael Nadal” – Kei Nishikori Reveals Career’s Best Memory

Published 03/07/2020, 3:15 PM EST


Kei Nishikori is one of the most talented and hard-working players in tennis. However, in the era of the Big Three, many such talented players have faced a scarcity of the biggest trophies. Kei, too, does not have many big titles to boast of. However, he can always be proud of his Olympic Bronze medal from the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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Nishikori was unfortunate to be playing in an era where his talents could fully shine. But then again, you can say that about a ton of players. Kei, though, is one of the few players to have reached a Grand Slam final in the last decade or so. He made the 2014 US Open final, but lost to Marin Cilic.

Kei Nishikori recalls most memorable moment

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The Japanese lost the Grand Slam final in a fairly meek manner. Had he won the title, it would surely have been his greatest achievement, but he did not. He did achieve something great a couple of years later, though. In his third-place play-off, he defeated Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-7 (1), 6-3, to win a prestigious Olympic Bronze medal.

Kei Nishikori

Naturally, that particular victory holds a special place in the player’s heart. He also became the first Japanese man to win an Olympic medal in tennis since 1920.

“The third-place playoff with Nadal. Of course, the medal was on the line. And that match being against Nadal made it very memorable.”

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Nishikori has also made multiple appearances in the quarter-finals of all four Grand Slams. Just last year, he made the last eight of all Majors except the US Open.

The Japanese star has struggled with fitness, since undergoing a minor procedure on his elbow after the 2019 US Open. He hasn’t recovered yet to compete on the ATP Tour. Nishikori cannot wait to come back and start playing again.

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“My elbow is fine but my body is not ready yet. I’ve rested a long time and I’m coming back from zero. It’s sad, seeing the Australian Open and now skipping the Davis Cup, and other big tournaments are coming. Everything is going well but I couldn’t make it in time. I’m sure I will come back soon, hopefully in Miami this month or for the clay-court season, although it wasn’t possible this week.”

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Samir Satam

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