Nishikori Ready To Continue Climb In Cincy
Japanese star looks to win first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title
Kei Nishikori has firmly entrenched himself in the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, but he believes he’s ready to start moving even higher.
The World No. 7 in the Emirates ATP Rankings is the fifth seed at the Western & Southern Open and will face Mikhail Youzhny in his opening match. Having entered this summer without beating a Top 5 player since defeating Novak Djokovic in the 2014 US Open semi-finals, he's now recorded two of these wins in the past month over Stan Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal.
The Japanese star credited his work with Michael Chang over the past three years with a vast improvement in his game. Eight of his 11 ATP World Tour titles have come since he began working with the Hall of Famer in January 2014, as well as four of the five occasions where he’s reached the quarter-finals or better at a Grand Slam.
“It’s been working well. My tennis is much more consistent and also more aggressive. I try to come in a little more now,” said Nishikori. “He also has a great eye for all the players and searches for a lot of things about them.”
But Nishikori is far from content. He’s eager to begin correcting his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalries with Andy Murray (1-7) and Novak Djokovic (2-10) in order to start regularly winning the biggest titles on the ATP World Tour.
“I lost to Andy a little bit easily in the Olympics and also lost to Djokovic in two sets in Toronto, so I still have many things to work on to beat those two guys,” said Nishikori. “But slowly, I think I’m getting there.”
Nishikori arrives in Cincinnati after prevailing over Nadal to secure a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, giving Japan its first-ever Olympic medal in tennis.
“I think he was playing good, but maybe he wasn’t 100 per cent. He was playing a lot of matches, doubles and singles, but I think I played really good tennis,” said Nishikori. “But the week was a great experience and it was a big honour to get a medal."