TENNIS US OPEN – 6th of September 2014. K. Nishikori d. N. Djokovic 6-4, 1-6, 7-6, 6-3. An interview with Kei Nishikori
Q. Are you surprised? Your coach sounded confident a couple of days ago that you could do this, but are you surprised at this?
KEI NISHIKORI: Maybe a little bit, but not too much. You know, I was ready to play, you know, these kind of players always. Especially this year I have been playing really well. I went to final in Masters once and, you know, I have been beating those top guys already. But I knew I was a little bit nervous, getting nervous, you know, first time semis here. But I think the confidence helped for today’s match. I was playing really well and really aggressive, and, you know, didn’t wait for the ball. Even the opponent is, you know, Novak, I was playing my tennis. Everything worked well today.
Q. Can you tell us what happened about your famous fragility? Everyone says, Kei is very good but he’s fragile or can get injured or maybe even before the tournament doesn’t know whether he can play, maybe he plays, what? What happens? You can be stronger?
KEI NISHIKORI: You know, I tried to work on my body a lot this year. Even last year, too. But, you know, even it at the tournaments I tried to do a lot of rehab training. Off season tried to do a lot of training stuff, you know, more than tennis. You know, I feel like I’m getting stronger.
Q. The heat? Djokovic could hardly walk at the end.
KEI NISHIKORI: I mean, I don’t know. I guess I’m too strong then. (Smiling.)
Q. It was very tough conditions out there, sticky and humid. Obviously played a lot the last few days.
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah.
Q. Just wondering how you think your body would be feeling if you had to play the men’s final tomorrow like it has been for a long time?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, it’s going to be really tough if it’s in few years ago. But I think that two days — last couple of days helped so much. You know, it wasn’t easy, you know, playing two five sets and four hours’ match. You know, it was even tough for me to play today. Especially third and fourth I couldn’t really put effort for every game. But, yeah, you know, I tried to concentrate with those important points. Especially last game, you know, I tried to get more energy and tried to concentrate again. You know, I have been doing that well, you know, from couple of years ago. I hope I recover well tomorrow and ready for Monday.
Q. First of all, congratulations for your first-time final.
KEI NISHIKORI: Thanks.
Q. You won the match. You hit the last winning shot. But what impact did it have having Michael Chang in the box being part of the team for you?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, it’s been really helpful. He’s been help me a lot from end of last year. Also helping mentally. Yeah, him and Dante working really well, and I feel my tennis is changing little more aggressive and playing more confidence. He’s tough, but I, you know, sometimes needed, you know, something. Some people can push me well and, yeah, it’s been working really well I think.
Q. Michael showed very little emotion as a player. In the box he shows a lot of emotion. How does that make you feel?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, it’s been really helpful when I getting, I don’t know, tired or frustrated. You know, he can help me from the box, too. Yeah, it’s good.
Q. When you had the cyst removed in August, what did you think your prospects would be at the Open? How did you think you would do here?
KEI NISHIKORI: Almost nothing. (Smiling.) I just started playing points few days ago before the tournament. I didn’t even know if I should come to New York, you know, so I wasn’t expecting nothing actually. But after playing first match and second match, you know, I get more confidence on my foot and it was no pain at the moments. I was start sliding little more. But my tennis was there already. I was really, you know, try to play one match at a time and now I’m here. But I don’t know. I may have to rest three weeks before the Grand Slam.
Q. There has been a lot more attention recently on a couple of the other guys in your generation with Raonic and Dimitrov. Are you surprised to make this final before them? Did you think that was possible?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, I guess. Yeah, I guess those guys doing really well. Yeah, especially in Wimbledon. You know, I was a little bit surprised how they do, how they can be really strong, you know, after couple years they can be number, I don’t know, 1 or 2. I’m really happy to get in that situation. I know young guys making a little bit surprise in changing those top 5 players. You know, even Marin this year in the semis. But, you know, a little bit surprised for me to play final.
Q. You’re always afraid to not focus enough, but you always make the important points, tiebreakers. Chang, I interviewed Chang the other day, and he said you have very good sense of humor. Out of 25 questions you answered one and everybody was laughing in Japanese. Can you tell us what they asked and what you answered?
KEI NISHIKORI: Sorry, I don’t remember. (Smiling.) Yeah in Japanese I can make some fun, but not yet for the English. I’m not good of speaking yet. Sorry. (Smiling.)
Q. You have a really strong five-set record. I wondered, in this tournament you have also been real strong in terms of the way you’re pacing your matches. Has Michael Chang helped with that, or do you feel that’s really intrinsic in your game?
KEI NISHIKORI: I think I had it before, you know. I’m No. 1 history in winning five sets or three sets, s I don’t know. I always try to concentrate again beginning of the fifth set. It’s not easy to focus again, you know, after playing three or four hours. I don’t know, I do it well somehow. Sorry, I don’t know.
Q. If you could take us inside that third set, some of those big points that you won, just describe what that was like out there for you.
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, it was not easy after losing second set, because he was playing much better tennis and I felt like I have no chance if he play like that. I was running side to side, and physically I was a little bit, you know, tired i he can make, you know, side to side every point. But, you know, I thought of have no chance but, you know, I try to be a little more aggressive and I changed my tactics a little bit. Was very shame after losing 5-4 my serve, but it was tight tiebreak, too. I was winning 4-0 and he came back. You know, very close game. But, you know, that’s helped after winning third set. You know, I tried to concentrate again. You know, I tried to win this set. Otherwise I didn’t, you know, believe if goes fifth set I didn’t think I can run. So, you know, very happy to finish in four sets.
Doubles Player Dream French Open Debut Ended By Instagram Message
Portugal’s Francisco Cabral said he found out he will not be playing in Paris through social media.
Playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam is the pinnacle of many players’ careers but one player missed out on that opportunity due to an unfortunate situation.
Portugal’s Francisco Cabral was set to play in the men’s doubles tournament for the first time at this week’s French Open. The world No.72 is currently at a career-high after winning his maiden Tour title in Estoril last month with compatriot Nuno Borges. In Paris, he entered into the draw alongside Denmark’s Holger Rune.
However, shortly before he was set to make his Grand Slam debut Rune pulled out at the last minute. Leaving Cabral unable to look for another partner in such a short time. Rune’s withdrawal from the doubles was based on medical advice after he hurt his ankle during his second round clash against Henri Laaksonen. The Dane tripped over the court cover at the back of the court but fortunately wasn’t seriously injured and managed to continue playing.
“Right now I feel a huge sadness because it’s a dream to play in a Grand Slam tournament. I’ve been here since Saturday training, waiting, watching games, experiencing a new world because it was my first Grand Slam and it’s another dimension and I was really, really looking forward to being able to play,” Cabral told Raquetc. “And having waited until 15 minutes before game time to know that I wasn’t going to play after all, it cost me a lot, but I did everything I could.”
Caral went on to criticize the behavior of Rune who informed him that he would not be playing in the doubles event via a message sent on Instagram. It is unclear why the two never spoke face-to-face.
“He only told me that he had sprained his foot, that he was at the doctor’s, and that he had told him not to play the doubles. I’m sad about his attitude because he didn’t even say this to my face, he just sent me a message on Instagram. I don’t think it went well, but as I said, I couldn’t have done anything differently, so I’ll just wait for the next opportunity.” He said.
25-year-old Cabral is targeting Wimbledon as the event where he will play his first main draw match.
Meanwhile, Rune will continue his singles campaign at Roland Garros on Saturday when he plays Hugo Gaston in the third round. The former world No.1 junior has shot up the rankings this season to a high of 40th.
Cabral and Rune has been replaced in the draw by Sander Arends and Szymon Walków.
French Open Crowd Crossed The Line, Says Frustrated Alex de Minaur
The Australian explains why he wasn’t entirely happy with the atmosphere in the French capital.
Alex de Minaur didn’t hide his irritation with fans at Roland Garros following his shock exit from the tournament on Tuesday.
The 19th seed fell to home player Hugo Gaston in a five-set epic that lasted more than four hours. De Minaur had a 3-0 lead in the decisive set but ended up losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 7-6(10-4) to the world No.74. He has now lost in the first round of the French Open in four out of six appearances.
During the match De Minaur had to contend with a boisterous crowd who were cheering on Gaston. He faced some booing and jeering from those in the stands which the world No.20 was not happy about.
“I think there is a difference between a great atmosphere and supporting your fellow countrymen, which is completely fine and it’s great. I’m sure for him was an amazing atmosphere, he enjoyed every second of it.” De Minaur said afterwards.
“But there is a line that, when I’m getting told things by people in the crowd, making eye contact with me after I hit a double fault, I think there is a certain line that needs to be kind of looked at.”
“Good on him (Gaston) for playing a great match in front of his home crowd and being able to feed off that, and you know, having a moment that I’m sure he won’t forget.”
De Minaur refused to go into what exactly was being said to him from certain members of the crowd but insisted that he was not being intimidated by what was occurring on the court. Towards the end of the match a series of unforced errors, including double faults, costed him dearly.
“I’m pretty sure I dealt with it pretty well, all things considering,” he said. “I was in the moment. I was in the heat of the moment battling out there. It felt like kind of an away Davis Cup match, and I thrive on that. It was a lot sometimes and sometimes you do your best to focus on playing a tennis match. There are outside factors that you do your best to control.“
Heading into Paris, De Minaur had shown encouraging results on the clay with semi-final runs to tournaments in Barcelona and Lyon. He also reached the third round in Rome and took a set off Andrey Rublev when they clashed in Monte Carlo.
Given those recent results on the Tour, it is clear that the latest defeat is one that will sit with him for a while.
“Ideally, I will sleep tonight and I will forget all about it, but I have a feeling that won’t be the case,” de Minaur admits.
“It’s disappointing, as everything is, it is what it is. It’s a sport that we are playing. You have your good days, your bad days. You win absolute battles; you lose absolute battles.”
As for Garon, he will face Argentine qualifier Pedro Cachin in the second round. This year’s draw is a golden opportunity for the Frenchman with him guaranteed to not play a seeded player until at least the last 16 if he makes it that far.
Novak Djokovic Opens Up About Wimbledon Points Removal
The world No.1 states that he will always support the views of his peers.
By Kingsley Elliot Kaye
In his press conference following his win over Yoshihito Nishioka at the French Open, Novak Djokovic expressed his views about the ATP decision to remove points from Wimbledon.
Negatively affected by such a decision – he will drop 2000 points – the world No.1 praised the ATP’s stance and called for players’ unity.
“I think collectively I’m glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men’s tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening, and there was from the Wimbledon side, then we have to show that there are going to be some consequences. So I support the players, unification always. I have always done that. I will always do that.” He said.
Djokovic criticized the lack of communication between the parties involved, in particular with regard to a document of recommendation by the English Government which contained diverse options. Had it been discussed by the All England Club with ATP and players, a compromise may have been reached.
“I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all. But, you know, during these times, it’s a super sensitive subject, and anything that you decide, it’s unfortunately going to create a lot of conflict, a lot of separation instead of unification.” He continued.
Djokovic also mentioned other suggestions coming from WTA and ATP, that possibly men’s and women’s players from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia could play together at some exhibition event during the slam or something like this and prize money could go to the victims in Ukraine. There were different ideas, but there was never really a strong communication coming from Wimbledon.
He stressed that removing the points from Wimbledon, therefore not allowing players to earn or to defend points, is a decision that affects everyone, a lose-lose situation for everyone, as he called it.
Nonetheless, the charm and prestige of Wimbledon shall rest unaltered and its meaningfulness extends far beyond: “A Grand Slam is still a Grand Slam. Wimbledon for me was always my dream tournament when I was a child. You know, I don’t look at it through the lens of points or prize money. For me, it’s something else.”
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