Former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori had a rough 2020 season. The 30-year-old played very few matches in a season as he had constant injury niggles and a positive test for COVID-19. Now looking to rejuvenate his career, the Japanese player is looking forward to a different 2021 season.
In a recent press conference, Nishikori explained his 2020 season and also expressed enthusiasm for the 2021 season. He said, “We had few tournaments (due to the pandemic) and my season came to an end when I was beginning to get my feel back. I really can’t wait for next year.”
Nishikori had his elbow surgery in late October, which delayed his 2020 season. Then the pandemic break kicked in, and later when he was ready, he was infected with the coronavirus. When the 2020 season moved to the clay tournament, he was back but had lackluster performances. Shoulder niggles hampered his season after French Open 2020, and thus that ended his season. Nishikori said, “I couldn’t face top-10 ranked players this season. I want to compete at that level again as soon as I can.”
The 2021 season brings the postponed Tokyo Olympics 2020 as well. So Nishikori is also eyeing a great run for Japan at the Olympics, which will take place in Japan itself. He said, “(My shoulder) has recovered to a decent level. It’ll be definitely okay for next year. I’ll prepare (for the Olympics) assuming that they will take place.”
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Kei Nishikori won the bronze medal. In the semifinal, he lost to eventual gold medalist Andy Murray. But he defeated Rafael Nadal in the bronze medal match to secure the medal for Japan.
Nishikori is looking to continue his good Grand Slam form from past seasons. Generally, he has had a consistent run at the Australian Open. He made quarterfinal appearances at the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon in 2019. He will be hoping he gets a good start at the 2021 Australian Open.