Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori is a Japanese professional tennis player, who has played on the ATP Tour since 2007.

Date of Birth: 29 December 1989
Birthplace: Shimane, Japan
Residence: Bradenton, Florida, United States
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
Weight: 161 lbs (73 kg)
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Turned Pro: 2007

Kei Nishikori was born in Matsue, Shimane, Japan, on December 29, 1989, to his parents, Eri and Kiyoshi. From the age of five, Nishikori played tennis and showed great talent as a youth player. He won the All Japan Tennis Championships for Kids in 2001.

At age 14, Nishikori left Japan and started training at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. However, it was a big leap of faith as he did not speak a word of English. Nishikori soon settled into his US life and started to show his tennis talents at the highest junior levels.

Between 2005 and 2006, he competed at all four junior Grand Slam events and made the quarter-finals at the Roland Garros and US Open. Nishikori started to compete at ATP events in 2007 and won his first match at the Indianapolis Tennis Championships, beating Alejandro Falla in the first round. He continued to progress in the competition and reached the quarter-final, where he lost to Dmitry Tursunov.

In 2008, he made an impressive start by winning the Delray Beach Open and defeating James Blake in the final. As a result, Nishikori became the first Japanese male player to win an ATP event in 16 years. Soon, the Japanese player was competitive in ATP competitions and gained entry to his first Grand Slam at Wimbledon in July, but lost in the first round.

He was more successful with a fourth-round run at the 2008 US Open. Due to his strong season, Nishikori was named 2008 ATP Newcomer of the Year. However, weeks after receiving this award, Nishikori was ruled out of the 2009 campaign due to an elbow injury.

After nearly a year out, Nishikori returned at the 2010 Delray Beach Open but lost in the first round. He then dropped to Challenger level to build form and won several events before competing at his first Roland Garros in May. Here, the Japanese player was eliminated in the second round.

Despite a first-round loss at Wimbledon, Nishikori performed well at the US Open again, making it to round three. 2011 was more consistent for Nishikori and he made two ATP finals. At the US Men’s Clay Court Championships, he reached the final before losing to Ryan Sweeting.

Late in the season, Nishikori made the Swiss Indoors final, only to lose against Roger Federer. After a solid campaign, the Japanese player was ranked 24th. Another consistent season followed in 2012 and Nishikori reached the quarter finals of a Grand Slam for the first time at the Australian Open. He also made the final eight of the London Olympics and won his second ATP title in October.

That victory came at the Japan Open in Tokyo, where Nishikori bested Milos Raonic. Nishikori’s third tournament win came in 2013 at the US National Indoor Championships with a victory over Feliciano Lopez. But it was the 2014 season where Nishikori really excelled.

He won four titles in the season, first defending his US National Indoor Championships title. More victories came at the Barcelona Open, Malaysian Open, and Japan Open. However, his biggest achievement came at the US Open, where he made it to the final. At Flushing Meadows in 2014, Nishikori became the first Asian male player to play in a Grand Slam final. Although, he couldn't overcome Marin Cilic in the final. A strong season saw Nishikori end 2014 ranked fifth.

Nishikori was consistent again in 2015. He won the US National Indoor Championships for a third consecutive season and defended his Barcelona Open title. He also claimed his 10th career title at the Citi Open. The Japanese player couldn’t match his Grand Slam success of the previous year with quarter-final showings at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, his best performances of 2015.

Another US National Indoor Championships triumph came in 2016 and Nishikori added an Olympic bronze medal to his list of achievements in Rio de Janeiro. He also fell just short of four further titles. In 2016, Nishikori reached four ATP finals at the Miami Open, Barcelona Open, Canadian Open, and the Swiss Indoors. He also progressed to the US Open semi-final in September.

Despite making two early finals in 2017 at the Brisbane International and Argentina Open, Nishikori suffered a wrist injury midway through the season. As a result, he missed the final months. Nishikori broke back into the ATP top 10 in 2018, however. The Japanese player progressed to the Monte-Carlo Masters final for the first time. He also made finals at the Japan Open and the Vienna Open. Nishikori then finished 2018 positively with another semi-final run at the US Open.

In 2019, Nishikori made a flying start with a win at the Brisbane International, defeating Daniil Medvedev. He was also consistent in the Grand Slams and reached the final eight at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. However, Nishikori struggled to find form after the 2020 break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021, his best major performance was a fourth-round run at the French Open, while he also lost in the quarter-finals of the Olympics in Tokyo. Nishikori underwent hip surgery in January 2022 and missed 18 months due to recovery.

He came back at Challenger level and won his first competition back at the 2023 Caribbean Open. However, the Japanese player struggled with injury and only made one appearance in 2024 at Indian Wells, where he lost in round one.

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