Kei Nishikori: "Novak Djokovic is the toughest player to beat right now" - UBITENNIS
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Kei Nishikori: “Novak Djokovic is the toughest player to beat right now”

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Kei Nishikori will make his second appearance at the ATP World Tour Finals which gets underway tomorrow at the O2 Arena in London. Last year he made history when he became the first ever Asian player to qualify for the season-ending tournament. In his first appearance at the O2 Arena last year Nishikori lost in three sets against Djokovic.

 

The Japanese star will open his campaign tomorrow afternoon against Novak Djokovic who leads 4-2 in their head-to-head matches. However, he beat Djokovic last year in the semifinal of the 2014 US Open to reach the final at Flushing Meadows and pushed the Serbian star to the third set in the semifinal at last year’s ATP World Tour Finals in London last year.

“What he has done is amazing. He did well in every tournament. That’s not easy. He has only lost a few matches this year. He stays focused all the time. I think his concentration is amaziong. He is the toughest player to beat right now”, said Nishikori.

Nishikori started playing tennis at the age of five, The son of Eri, a piano teacher, and Kiyoshi, an engineer, won the All Japan Tennis Championships for Kids in 2001 before moving to Forida at the age of 14 to join the IMG Academy without speaking a word of English when he arrived. When he was 18 he set the goal called  “Project 45” aimed at surpassing Japan’s previous best ranking of 46 held by Shuzo Matsuoka, the first ever Japanese player to win a ATP title in Seoul in 1992 and to reach the quarter finals at Wimbledon in 1995.

Nishikori has exceeded this goal becoming the first player from his country to reach a Grand Slam final at the US Open in 2014. He ended the 2014 season as highest-ranked Asian player in ATP Tour history at a year-end best 5 after winning four titles in Memphis, Barcelona, Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo. He also finished runner-up in Madrid (where he withdrew from the final during the third set against Rafa Nadal at 6-2 4-6 0-3) and reached two Masters 1000 semifinals in Miami and Paris Bercy.

So far this year Nishikori has won three titles in Memphis, Barcelona and Washington but he has had a season of ups and downs. He reached the quarter finals at the Roland Garros for the first time in his career before losing to Jo Wilfried Tsonga in five sets. During the summer season he beat John Isner in three tight sets in the Washington final and reached the semifinal in Montreal without losing a set. In the Roger’s Cup he beat Andy Murray for the first time in eight tries in the quarter finals before losing to Andy Murray in the semifinal. He lost to Benoit Paire in the first round at the US Open.

“I have to do a little better in the big tournaments, especially in the Grand Slams and all the Massters 1000. I missed three Masters 1000 this year. with hip and shoulder injuries. I did well but not good enough to go top 5 or higher. I reached the quarter finals at the French Open for the first time this year. I am looking forward to playing next year. I got much stronger in the last couple of years. I try to work hard every day and to be confident in every match and enjoy my tennis”, said Nishikori.

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Rafael Nadal joins star-studded Rotterdam field

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World number 2 and 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal will return to Rotterdam to play at the 48th edition of the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament from 1 to 7 March 2021. 

 

Nadal joins a star-studded line-up which already features 2020 ATP Finals champion Danil Medvedev three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori, 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion and 2020 Sofia ATP 250 Tour winner Jannik Sinner. 

Nadal made his debut in Rotterdam in 2008 but he lost to Italy’s Andreas Seppi in the second round. One year later the Spanish legend lost to Andy Murray in the final. 

Nadal claimed his 13th Roland Garros title and his 20th Grand Slam trophy last year tying Roger Federer for most Grand Slam men’s singles titles. He was ranked in top 10 for record 800 consecutive weeks from 25 April 2003, including 209 total weeks as World number 1 following 160 consecutive weeks as world number 2. He earned his 1000th career win in Paris 2020 and boasts most ATP Masters 1000 match victories (389) and second most titles, including 11 in Monte-Carlo, 9 in Rome and 5 in Madrid. He joined André Agassi as the first to male players to complete career Grand Slam and win Olympic gold medals in singles in Beijing 2008 and in doubles in Rio de Janeiro 2016 alongside his compatriot Marc Lopez.   

“What applied to his debut in 2008 in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, still applies. Rafa is again in second place in the ATP Rankings. That shows how unique it is. Non-stop in the top 10 since April 2005. There is no one who will be close to this, or will match him for a long time to come. We had annual contact about him playing in Rotterdam, but it did not fit into the schedule. Now that the season looks different in terms of planning, he was open to coming back to Rotterdam. Of course we seized the opportunity. It would be great if we could add to our Ring of Champions next March. It’s no secret that Nadal is one of my all-time favourite players. The intensity he brings to the court is unparalled. His fighting spirit in combination with his unique technique is an example for everyone. The fact that he returns to Rotterdam after so many years makes it extra special, of course”, said Tournament Director and former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek. 

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina decides to skip the Australian Open

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina decided to skip the Australian Open after being tested to covid-19. Fokina is asymptomatic, while his coach had minor symptoms. The young Spanish player should have faced 14 days of quarantine before training for three days ahead of the Australian Open, but decided to focus on the European Indoor tournaments. His season will start with two Challenger tournaments. Davidovich Fokina reached the semifinal in Estoril in 2019 as qualifier and the fourth round at the US Open in 2020 at the age of 21. 

 

“My coach and I tested positive to Covid-19 14 days ago and could not get on our plane to Melbourne last Thursday. Jorge had minor symptoms and I was practically asymptomatic. We have thought that even with the possibility of travelling in the next three days, having to do another 14-day quarantine, training three days and playing to the best of five sets could be dangerous and harmful for the rest of the season because the probability of injury is very high. We will try to obtain some wild cards to play at two challengers and start getting the rhythm and shape to face the European Indoor Tour the best way possible. On one hand I feel very sad because I am missing the first Grand Slam of the year but on the other hand I am glad that we have confronted the virus without any complications and I am ready to start training and competing again”, wrote Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on his twitter account. 

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Monte-Carlo postpones the ticket sales for the 2021 edition

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The uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic in Europe forced the tournament management of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters to postpone the start of the ticket sales for the 2021 edition scheduled from 11 to 18 April 2021. 

 

This decision affects Italian and French tennis fans. A large part of the crowd who attend the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters comes from France and Italy. 

The management of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters confirmed that the tournament will be held with a partial presence of the crowd. The 2020 edition of the monegasque tournament was cancelled. 

The tournament management published this brief announcment on its official website: 

“Dear viewers, we remind you that the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters will take place from 10 to 16 April 2021, no doubt with limited public access. Unfortanetely, given the current unfavourable health situation, the opening of our ticket office, which we hoped to keep on 19th January, must be postponed. In any case, we hope to be able to give you positive news shortly, and at the moment we invite to consult our website and our social networks for up-to-date information. We remain confident that we will be able to welcome you to the Monte-Carlo Country Club from 10 April 2021, for the 114th edition of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters”. 

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