Kei Nishikori: 2016 Rogers Cup runner-up interview transcript

Unfortunately the third time was not the charm for Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who once again found himself on the losing event of an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final, falling to Novak Djokovic, 6-3, 7-5.  We tried to ask Nishikori about his pre-Olympic form, but he was too disappointed in his runner-up finish in Toronto to answer.  This transcript of the English portion of Nishikori’s press conference on July 31, provided below in full, is courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports; the first question was asked by Meniscus Magazine, whereas the rest were asked by other reporters.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Kwai Chan (Meniscus Magazine): Congratulations on a great tournament. It seems to me that from beginning of the week, you slowly built up, getting better and better. Today was just, particularly toward the end of first set, you were just hitting the ball with great authority. Are you satisfied with where you are now before you go to Olympics?

KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah. Today, yeah, I think he stepped it up. He raised his level, I think, a lot from these couple days, couple days ago.

He played really deep, and he didn’t give me any, like, free points. Especially he was serving really well, so I didn’t have many, you know, chances for my return game. So I was really feeling the pressure every game.

Maybe [in the] second set I had some chance, but there were too many unforced errors from me. Well, also he was playing good, but I couldn’t play good tennis today.

Q. You made a nice little run there in the second set. You know, you were down a break. You caught up. I’m just wondering, you know, what was the difference in that second set? What did you feel you could have done to sort of take it one set further and get over the hump? How would you use this for next time?

KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, I think, like I said, I had too many unforced errors especially during important points. Yeah, he was returning really well today, I think. I was hitting some good first serves, but he was making return in deep.

Yeah, during the second set I maybe was playing much better, hitting more aggressive and hitting side to side little more and start working a little bit. But the times he was, you know, hitting great returns and I was missing some easy ones. Then, you know, he was better player last couple of games.

Q. I just wondered if you could comment on being a player in this particular era of sort of the dominance of the big four – Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Murray – and if you think about more opportunities you could have if it was like any other kind of era in tennis, and given that you’re a few years younger than they are that you see yourself perhaps as being the next, you know, first-time Grand Slam winner and possibly winning multiple slams in the near future.

KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah. Yeah, I hope I can step it up a little more and winning some titles, but I think still Novak is biggest challenge for me to win against him. Especially on hard court he’s been beating me. You know, not easy but two sets. Miami, here, especially big match like here in final.

So I think I need more experience, you know, of these kind of matches, but I think this is a great week even though I lost Novak. It was second time this year in the final, Masters. I think getting closer and closer. So hope I can get a Masters title as soon as possible.

I think that’s going to give me a lot of confidence for winning the Grand Slams and those big tournaments.

Q. First of all, congratulations on a really well-played tournament. I was wondering, after Novak asked the crowd to all hug each other, did you hug someone? What did you think of that?

KEI NISHIKORI: Well, not yet (smiling). I think it was great idea. It was fun.

Q. Will you hug someone maybe later?

KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah. (Laughter.)

Q. You looked like you were taking control a little bit, 5-4 and 4-3. Both those games on his serve he served really, really well those two games. Was that kind of discouraging that you were just getting ahead and then he had two very strong service games?

KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah. Today I think almost beginning until end he was serving really well, especially first serve. I think he was making a little first-serve percentage, and I was a little bit hoping that he was not making many first serve and I was going to be more aggressive on second serve.

But, yeah, he was playing, you know, really good tennis, his service games. Yeah, even though I had some chance in the second set, he was saving a lot of points with his serve.

Q. Do you feel more pressure playing the Olympics than you feel playing a normal tournament because of the expectations of your country?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, first time, yes, in Beijing. But in London last time, it was good. I mean, of course I feel some pressure, but I have some experience, you know, twice already in the Olympics game. I think it should be fine.

Video: Kei Nishikori press conference (English) – 2016 Rogers Cup, July 31
video by Mai D. Chan / Meniscus Magazine

Video: Kei Nishikori press conference (日本語) – 2016 Rogers Cup, July 31
video by Mai D. Chan / Meniscus Magazine