After an elbow injury and two very complicated seasons, Kei Nishikori is looking to get back to what he once was. Recall that the Japanese tennis player reached the fourth position in the world ranking in 2015 and played in the final of the US Open 2014: final then lost against Marin Cilic. Nishikori, after the Australian disappointment, went to the quarter-finals in both Rotterdam and Dubai, two ATP 500 tournaments, and has shown that he can still compete at high levels. In an interview with ATP ahead of this week’s Miami Masters, Kei Nishikori talked about he would like to play a few more matches against Roger Federer, his ‘idol’.
Nishikori on his dream Masters 1000 match
“I would play Roger Federer, because he is my idol,” Kei Nishikori responded when asked about his dream match at a Masters 1000 event. “If we can play a couple more times, it would be great because it is just fun to play against him.” Since their last meeting, both Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori have taken extended breaks. Kei Nishikori on his part believes Roger Federer will be on the tour for a while longer. The Japanese also claimed that playing against Federer is always an enriching experience. “You get many experiences from [playing] Roger Federer,” Nishikori said. “I am sure he is going to play a couple more years. Before he retires, I want to play him a couple more times. A final would be great.” The trio of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have monopolized the Grand Slams for well over a decade, and have continued to dominate even after going past their peak. And while there are several Next Gen players on the tour who put up impressive results, none of them have been able to deliver on the big stage. It was in March last year that the ATP rankings were frozen due to the COVID-enforced tour suspension. Play resumed subsequently in August, but with a revised points system. The rankings traditionally work on a ‘Best 18’ results basis over a rolling period of 52 weeks. But from August 2020, the system was changed to cover a player’s best results over a time-period of nearly two years. This unforeseeable change in the rules helped Roger Federer the most, who was unable to compete in 2020 due to a double right knee surgery. At the same time, Andrey Rublev is the one player who would have justifiably felt hard done by.