Kei Nishikori

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Kei Nishikori
錦織 圭
Kei Nishikori.jpg
Kei Nishikori at the 2011 French Open
Full name Kei Nishikori
Country  Japan
Residence Bradenton, Florida, United States
Born (1989-12-29) 29 December 1989 (age 24)
Matsue, Shimane, Japan
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Turned pro 2007
Plays Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Coach(es) Dante Bottini (2010–)
Michael Chang (2014–)
Prize money $6,891,044
Singles
Career record 175–101 (67.38%)
Career titles 5
Highest ranking No. 8 (8 September 2014)[1]
Current ranking No. 8 (8 September 2014)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open QF (2012)
French Open 4R (2013)
Wimbledon 4R (2014)
US Open F (2014)
Other tournaments
Olympic Games QF (2012)
Doubles
Career record 16–22 (42.11%)
Career titles 0
Highest ranking No. 167 (19 March 2012)
Current ranking No. 536 (16 June 2014)
Grand Slam Doubles results
French Open 2R (2011)
Wimbledon 2R (2011)
Last updated on: 8 September 2013.

Kei Nishikori (錦織 圭 Nishikori Kei?, born 29 December 1989) is a Japanese professional tennis player, ranked world No. 8 as of September 8, 2014. He is the only male Japanese tennis player ever to be ranked inside the top 10 in ATP Singles Ranking. He began playing tennis at the age of five and qualified for his first ATP main draw event at the Countrywide Classic in Los Angeles at the age of 17.[2] Nishikori was named ATP Newcomer of the Year in 2008.[1] He has won five singles titles and was runner-up at the 2014 US Open,[3] making him the first ever male player from an Asian country to reach a Grand Slam singles final. Nishikori was also runner-up in the Madrid Masters in 2014.

Personal life[edit]

Nishikori was born in Matsue in Shimane Prefecture, Japan. His father, Kiyoshi, is an engineer, and his mother, Eri, is a piano teacher. He has an older sister, Reina, who graduated from college and works in Tokyo.[1] He began playing tennis at the age of five. He first won the All Japan Tennis Championships for Kids in 2001. He graduated from Aomori-Yamada High School, and moved to Florida to join the IMG Academy. His pastimes include football, golf, reading, and listening to music.[2]

In December 2010, it was announced that Nishikori would be coached by Brad Gilbert for the 2011 season and by Dante Bottini from the IMG Academy[4] Gilbert has also coached Andy Murray and former world No. 1s Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick.

Since January 2014, Nishikori is coached by former world No. 2 Michael Chang.

Career[edit]

Junior career[edit]

Nishikori won the 2004 title at the Riad 21 Tournament in Rabat, Morocco and was a quarter-finalist at the 2006 Junior French Open. He partnered with Emiliano Massa to win the 2006 Junior French Open. Nishikori won the 2007 Luxilon Cup held at the 2007 Sony Ericsson Open by defeating Michael McClune.

As a junior he compiled a 73–37 win/loss record in singles (and 53–31 in doubles), achieving a combined ranking of No. 7 in the world in July 2006.

Junior Slam results – Singles:

Australian Open: QF (2006)
French Open: QF (2006)
Wimbledon: 1R (2005)
US Open: 3R (2005)

2006[edit]

Nishikori qualified and won the title at the ITF Futures event in Mazatlán, Mexico. He began the year by receiving a wildcard to the Kyoto Challenger in Kyoto, Japan.

2007[edit]

A finalist in two USTA Pro Circuit events, Nishikori lost to Donald Young in Little Rock, Arkansas and Alex Bogomolov, Jr. in Carson, California. He partnered with Donald Young to win the doubles title at Little Rock. He paired with triple-French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Florida, where they lost in the first round. Nishikori served as a hitting partner for Roger Federer at Wimbledon.

After his ATP main draw debut in Los Angeles, he qualified for the Indianapolis Tennis Championships in July 2007. He beat Alejandro Falla in the first round to record his first ATP main-draw win. He followed that up with a three-set win over Michael Berrer, the eliminator of seventh seed Robby Ginepri to advance to his first ATP quarterfinal. He lost to Dmitry Tursunov, but Nishikori became the youngest player to reach the quarterfinals at Indianapolis since Boris Becker, who went on to reach the semifinals in 1985.

In his third career ATP event, Nishikori defeated Teymuraz Gabashvili in the first round in Washington, D.C., before falling to Julien Benneteau in the second. He qualified for the ATP event in Beijing and lost in the first round to Ivan Ljubičić. Nishikori received a wildcard to the ATP event in Tokyo, Japan, where he lost in the first round to Zack Fleishman. He participated in the draw ceremony in Tokyo and received the Tokyo Sports Writers Club award. Nishikori represented Japan at the Asian Hopman Cup 2007 in Bangkok, Thailand.

2008: First ATP title[edit]

Nishikori started the year by reaching the semifinals of the Miami challenger tournament. He then entered the Delray Beach tournament as a qualifier ranked world No. 244. He gained entrance to the main draw by defeating Nicolas Todero and Alex Bogomolov, Jr.. In the first round, he defeated Florian Mayer due to a retirement in the second set. In the second round, Nishikori defeated Amer Delic, another qualifier. In the quarterfinals, he won against Bobby Reynolds. In the semifinals, he upset Sam Querrey. In the final, Nishikiori upset top seed James Blake in three sets to become the first Japanese man in nearly 16 years to win an ATP event.[5]

Nishikiori lost in the first round of the Miami Masters to the Spanish player Albert Montañés. He faced James Blake again, this time at the River Oaks International tournament in Houston, Texas in the first round, but Kei lost in two sets. He went out in the third round of the 2008 Queen's Club Championships against Rafael Nadal in just over two hours. Facing the world No. 2, Nishikori played well in the match and showed promise. His first Grand Slam appearance at the 2008 Wimbledon Championships on 23 June 2008 ended in a first-round forfeiture to French player Marc Gicquel. Suffering from an abdominal muscle strain, Nishikori retired after the second set. In August, he entered the Beijing Olympics on a wildcard.[6] There, he lost in the first round to Rainer Schüttler of Germany.

Nishikori made his debut at the US Open, defeating 29th seeded Juan Mónaco in the first round. He cruised to the third round, after downing Croatian Roko Karanušić. On 30 August 2008, he became the first Japanese player to reach the round of 16 at the US Open in 71 years, when he beat fourth seed David Ferrer in five sets in what was considered one of the tournament's major upsets. He lost his chance, however, to compete in the quarterfinals when he was beaten by 17th seed Juan Martín del Potro in straight sets.

In the Japan Open Tennis Championships, he made it to the round of 16, before losing to Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

Nishikori was given a wildcard for the Stockholm Open, where he made it to his second ATP level semifinal of the year, despite playing with a knee injury. He received a walkover in his quarterfinal match against Mario Ančić, who had to withdraw due to illness. In the semifinals, he was beaten by fourth seed Robin Söderling.

2009: Disappointing injury season[edit]

Nishikori made a disappointing start to the season, losing to Jürgen Melzer in the first round of the Australian Open. On 25 March, Nishikori was named 2008 ATP Newcomer of the Year and became the first Asian player to win the award.[7] He withdrew from the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open because of an injured right elbow.

2010[edit]

Kei made his comeback after his injury of the previous year. After receiving a wildcard at Delray Beach, he was beaten in the first round by Benjamin Becker. Kei returned to the Challenger tour later in April with great success, reaching quarterfinals at both Baton Rouge and Tallahassee events, followed by a victory at the Savannah Challenger over Ryan Sweeting in the final. On 15 May 2010, he won the Sarasota open by defeating Brian Dabul, in three sets.

Nishikori played in his first French Open. He rebounded from two sets down to defeat Santiago Giraldo of Colombia in the first round but he lost his second match against Novak Djokovic. He lost to Richard Gasquet in the first round of the 2010 Aegon Championships. At Wimbledon, he played second seed Rafael Nadal in the first round and lost in straight sets.

At the U.S. Open, the Japanese No. 1 met Marin Čilić in the second round. Nishikori ousted the 11th seed in 5 sets to advance to the third round, his best Grand Slam tournament showing in 2010.

2011[edit]

Nishikori at the 2011 Australian Open.

Nishikori opened the season in Chennai, where he upset two-time defending champion Marin Čilić in the first round, before falling in the quarterfinals to Janko Tipsarević.

In the 2011 Australian Open, Nishikori reached the third round, defeating Fabio Fognini and Florian Mayer along the way. His run was ended in the third round by ninth seed Fernando Verdasco. After the third-round appearance in Melbourne, his ranking rose to No. 70.

At the first two ATP Masters Series events of the year, Nishikori suffered a first-round loss at Indian Wells and a second-round loss in Miami. Nishikori then reached his second final at the 2011 U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships. He was defeated by American wildcard Ryan Sweeting.

At Roland Garros, Nishikori lost in the second round to Sergiy Stakhovsky. He faced Lleyton Hewitt in the first round at Wimbledon, but lost in four sets. Nishikori then retired in his first-round match against Flavio Cipolla at the US Open.

At the Shangai Masters, Nishikori reached his first Masters 1000 semifinal. He defeated Robin Haase, fourth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Santiago Giraldo, in the first three rounds. In the quarterfinals, Nishikori upset 12th-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov in straight sets. He lost to No. 2 Andy Murray in his first Masters 1000 semifinal. He reached a career-high of world No. 30.

In the Swiss Indoors Basel tournament Nishikori defeated an ailing world No. 1 Novak Djokovic to reach the final, coming back from a 4–5, 0–30 deficit in the second set. The win was only Djokovic's fourth loss of the season, second loss in a completed match, and first loss of a completed match on a non-clay surface. Nishikori was defeated in the final by Roger Federer. On the heels of the victory, Nishikori was granted special exemption into the 2011 BNP Paribas Masters and achieved a ranking of world No. 24.

2012: First Major quarterfinal & second ATP title[edit]

Nishikori started the season at the Brisbane International, where he lost in the second round to Marcos Baghdatis. At the 2012 Australian Open, Nishikori came back from a set down to defeat sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, where he was then defeated by fourth seed Andy Murray. Nishikori was the first Japanese male player to reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in 80 years.[citation needed]

Nishikori made it to the quarterfinals of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships after beating Belgian Olivier Rochus in three sets.[8]

In the Summer Olympics, Nishikori lost to Argentina's Juan Martín del Potro in the quarterfinals.[9]

In Toronto, he lost his first match (after a first-round bye) to Sam Querrey. He did better in Cincinnati, making it to the third round before being defeated by Stanislas Wawrinka, who ended up a semifinalist in the event. Nishikori had also lost to Wawrinka in the quarterfinals in Buenos Aires in February.

On 7 October, eighth seed Nishikori won the Rakuten Japan Open in Tokyo against sixth seed Milos Raonic of Canada in three sets to win his first ATP 500 series title and second career ATP Tour title, lifting his world ranking from world No. 17 to a career-high of world No. 15. Nishikori's win was historic as he became the first Japanese man to win the Japan Open in its 41-year history.[10]

2013: Third ATP title[edit]

Nishikori started the year by playing the Brisbane International and reached the semifinals before retiring to Andy Murray because of a knee injury. Nishikori then reached the fourth round of the Australian Open before falling to fourth-seeded David Ferrer. Nishikori was bothered by a nagging knee injury throughout the match. Nishikori then won his third career title in the U.S. National Indoor Championships by defeating Feliciano López in straight sets. Seeded fifth, Nishikori finished the tournament without dropping a set in taking the winner's check, and moved up six ranking spots from No. 22 in the ATP rankings to No. 16.

On 9 May, Nishikori defeated defending champion Roger Federer at the Madrid Open in the third round, but lost to Pablo Andujar in the quarters.

In 2013 U.S Open first round, Nishikori was stunned by world no. 179 Daniel Evans in straight sets.

2014: Top 10 and first Major final[edit]

Michael Chang became Kei Nishikori's coach in 2014.

Nishikori made it to the fourth round in the Australian Open, losing to Rafael Nadal in a tight 3-setter. He defended his title at the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships in Memphis, defeating Ivo Karlovic in the final. He then played at the Masters 1000 event in Miami, where he was seeded 20th. Nishikori saved four match points before defeating 4th seed David Ferrer and advanced to the semifinals with a three-set win against 5th seed Roger Federer. Because of a left groin injury, he gave 2nd seed Novak Djokovic a walkover in the semifinals. He withdrew from Japan's Davis Cup quarterfinal against the Czech Republic.[11] Nishikori returned to action at the end of April, in Barcelona, winning the final against Santiago Giraldo of Colombia in two sets.

On 10 May Nishikori made history by reaching the final of Madrid Open, his first Masters 1000 tournament final. Nishikori beat David Ferrer in three sets in the semi-final, and faced world number one and defending champion Rafael Nadal in the final. Nishikori won the first set and led by a break in the second, but Nadal hit back to level the match before Nishikori was forced to retire in the 3rd set due to a back injury.[12] The result saw him achieve a career-high #9 in ATP singles ranking.[13] Nishikori lost in the first round of the French open to Martin Klizan in three sets.

Nishikori bounced back from the French Open first round loss in the grass court season by reaching the semifinals of the 2014 Gerry Weber Open before losing to Roger Federer in straight sets. Nishikori participated in the Wimbledon Championships and made it to the fourth round after surviving a tight 5-setter to Simone Bolelli, but eventually lost in the fourth round to Milos Raonic, despite winning the opening set. Nishikori opened his hard-court season by participating in the Citi Open. He reached the quarterfinals only to be beaten by Richard Gasquet for the fifth time in his career in straight sets.

Nishikori reached his first Grand Slam final at the 2014 US Open. He beat Wayne Odesnik, Pablo Andujar, Leonardo Mayer and then world No. 6 Milos Raonic in a marathon five-set match that lasted until 2:30 am, a record late finish at the US Open en route to the quarter-finals. In the quarter-finals, he beat Stan Wawrinka to ensure that he would regain a top ten ranking and he is also the first Japanese man in 81 years to reach the semi-finals at a Major. Nishikori then defeated world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals to become the first Japanese man ever to reach a Grand Slam tournament final. Nishikori lost to Marin Čilić in straight sets in the final. The U.S. Open moved Nishikori to a career-best ATP ranking of eighth.

Equipment[edit]

Nishikori currently uses the Wilson BLX Steam 99 racquet and wears Uniqlo clothing and Adidas Barricade 8.0 shoes.[1] He is also sponsored by Nissin Foods, TAG Heuer, Fast Retailing, LVMH Moët Hennessy, Japanese financial services firm Jaccs Co.,[14] WOWOW, mattress topper Air Weave, EA Games,[15] and Delta Air Lines.[16] He is often seen wearing a Cup Noodles badge on his sleeve during matches. In 2011, he filmed a commercial for Morinaga & Company's sports drink Weider in Jelly.[17] He also carries around a character called Mr. Saturn from the popular video game Mother / Earthbound.

Playing style[edit]

Nishikori is an offensive baseline player, known for his speed and footwork around the court. His greatly improved semi-western forehand is a weapon from all areas of the court. He uses his speed and agility to wear down and outthink his opponent, and often likes to create an open court with his forehand so he can hit a backhand down the line.

In the video game Grand Slam Tennis, Nishikori is classed as an all-court player, and his special ability is his endurance.

Significant finals[edit]

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Singles: 1 (0 Titles, 1 Runner-up)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
Runner-up 2014 US Open Hard Croatia Marin Čilić 3–6, 3–6, 3–6

Masters 1000 finals[edit]

Singles: 1 (0 titles, 1 runners-up)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
Runner-up 2014 Madrid Open Clay Spain Rafael Nadal 6–2, 4–6, 0–3 Retired

ATP career finals[edit]

Singles: 9 (5 titles, 4 runners-up)[edit]

Legend
Grand Slam (0–1)
ATP World Tour Finals (0–0)
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 (0–1)
ATP World Tour 500 series (3–1)
ATP World Tour 250 series (2–1)
Result No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Winner 1. February 11, 2008 International Tennis Championships, Delray Beach, United States Hard United States James Blake 3–6, 6–1, 6–4
Runner-up 1. April 10, 2011 U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships, Houston, United States Clay United States Ryan Sweeting 4–6, 6–7(3–7)
Runner-up 2. November 6, 2011 Swiss Indoors, Basel, Switzerland Hard (i) Switzerland Roger Federer 1–6, 3–6
Winner 2. October 7, 2012 Japan Open, Tokyo, Japan Hard Canada Milos Raonic 7–6(7–5), 3–6, 6–0
Winner 3. February 24, 2013 U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships, Memphis, United States Hard (i) Spain Feliciano López 6–2, 6–3
Winner 4. February 16, 2014 U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships, Memphis, United States Hard (i) Croatia Ivo Karlović 6–4, 7–6(7–0)
Winner 5. April 27, 2014 Barcelona Open, Barcelona, Spain Clay Colombia Santiago Giraldo 6–2, 6–2
Runner-up 3. May 11, 2014 Madrid Open, Madrid, Spain Clay Spain Rafael Nadal 6–2, 4–6, 0–3 Retired
Runner-up 4. September 8, 2014 US Open, New York, United States Hard Croatia Marin Čilić 3–6, 3–6, 3–6

Singles performance timeline[edit]

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR LQ (Q#) A P Z# PO SF-B F S G NMS NH

Won tournament; or reached Final; Semifinal; Quarter-final; Round 4, 3, 2, 1; competed at a Round Robin stage; lost in Qualification Round; absent from tournament event; played in a Davis Cup Zonal Group (with its number indication) or Play-off; won a bronze, silver (F or S) or gold medal at the Olympics; a downgraded Masters Series/1000 tournament (Not a Masters Series); or a tournament that was Not Held in a given year.

To avoid confusion and double counting, these charts are updated either at the conclusion of a tournament, or when the player's participation in the tournament has ended.

" This table is current through the 2014 US Open.

Tournament 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 W–L Win %
Grand Slam tournaments
Australian Open A A 1R A 3R QF 4R 4R 12–5 71%
French Open A A A 2R 2R A 4R 1R 5–4 56%
Wimbledon A 1R A 1R 1R 3R 3R 4R 7–6 54%
US Open Q2 4R A 3R 1R 3R 1R F 13–6 68%
Win–Loss 0–0 3–2 0–1 3–3 3–4 8–3 8–4 12–4 37–21 64%
Olympic Games
Summer Olympics NH 1R Not Held QF NH 3–2 60%
ATP World Tour Masters 1000
Indian Wells A 1R 1R A 1R 2R 3R 3R 2–6 25%
Miami A 1R A A 2R 4R 4R SF 9–4 69%
Monte Carlo A A A A A 3R A A 2–1 67%
Madrid A A A A 1R A QF F 8–3 73%
Rome A A A A Q2 A 2R A 1–1 50%
Canada Q1 A A A A 2R 3R A 2–2 50%
Cincinnati A A A A 1R 3R 1R A 2–3 40%
Shanghai NM1 A Q1 SF 2R 3R 7–3 70%
Paris A A A A 1R 3R 3R 3–2 60%
Win–Loss 0–0 0–2 0–1 0–0 5–6 8–6 13–8 10–2 36–25 59%
Career statistics
Tournaments 5 12 6 9 22 19 20 13 106
Titles 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 2 5
Finals 0 1 0 0 2 1 1 4 9
Year End Ranking 281 63 421 100 25 19 17

Wins over top-10 players per season[edit]

Season 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Wins 0 1 0 0 3 3 2 7
# Player Rank Event Surface Rd Score Nishikori
Rank
2008
1. Spain David Ferrer 4 US Open, New York, United States Hard 3R 6–4, 6–4, 3–6, 2–6, 7–5 126
2011
2. France Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 8 Shanghai, China Hard 2R 6–7(1–7), 6–4, 6–4 47
3. Czech Republic Tomáš Berdych 7 Basel, Switzerland Hard (i) 1R 3–6, 6–3, 6–2 32
4. Serbia Novak Djokovic 1 Basel, Switzerland Hard (i) SF 2–6, 7–6(7–4), 6–0 32
2012
5. France Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6 Australian Open, Melbourne, Australia Hard 4R 2–6, 6–2, 6–1, 3–6, 6–3 26
6. Spain David Ferrer 5 Olympics, London, United Kingdom Grass 3R 6–0, 3–6, 6–4 17
7. Czech Republic Tomáš Berdych 6 Tokyo, Japan Hard QF 7–5, 6–4 17
2013
8. Switzerland Roger Federer 2 Madrid, Spain Clay 3R 6–4, 1–6, 6–2 16
9. France Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 9 Paris, France Hard (i) 2R 1–6, 7–6(7–4), 7–6(9–7) 19
2014
10. Spain David Ferrer 4 Miami, United States Hard 4R 7–6(9–7), 2–6, 7–6(11–9) 21
11. Switzerland Roger Federer 5 Miami, United States Hard QF 3–6, 7–5, 6–4 21
12. Canada Milos Raonic 9 Madrid, Spain Clay 3R 7–6(7–5), 7–6(7–5) 12
13. Spain David Ferrer 5 Madrid, Spain Clay SF 7–6(7–5), 5–7, 6–3 12
14. Canada Milos Raonic 6 US Open, New York, United States Hard 4R 4–6, 7–6(7–4), 6–7(6–8), 7–5, 6–4 11
15. Switzerland Stan Wawrinka 4 US Open, New York, United States Hard QF 3–6, 7–5, 7–6(9–7), 6–7(5–7), 6–4 11
16. Serbia Novak Djokovic 1 US Open, New York, United States Hard SF 6–4, 1–6, 7–6(7–4), 6–3 11

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
ATP Newcomer of the Year
2008
Succeeded by
Horacio Zeballos