The highest-ranked Japanese male tennis player Kei Nishikori turned 31 yesterday. To celebrate the occasion, take a look at the time when he stunned Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic.
Former World No. 4, Kei, is known for creating magical tennis moments. By defeating Nadal for a bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics, he brought Japan its Olympic tennis glory after 96 years.
Since that medal, the 31-year-old has suffered consistent injuries majorly on his right shoulder. His win at 2019 Brisbane International came as his first title after nine consecutive finals losses since Feb 16’.
Following that, injury woes continued for the Japanese even in 2020. He accounted for only two wins against four losses throughout the year. However, the 12 ATP titles winner has recovered and is set to start his next season on a higher note. Using his protected ranking, Kei will represent Japan at the upcoming ATP Cup 2021 in February.
Read More: “Lucky Postponement”: Kei Nishikori Aims for Second Consecutive Medal at Olympics
Nishikori’s magical moments vs Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic
The only Japanese ever to qualify for the ATP Finals, Kei has met the Big Three 42 times. Among the encounters, he has only won 7; however, he has produced some gems of tennis rallies.
The Japanese player has won the most against the Swiss maestro from amongst the Big Three. In 2019, Kei defeated Federer in straight sets in the ATP Finals, but fans only remember the sweet backhand he delivered.
ATP Tour celebrated his birthday by sharing a compilation video displaying Kei’s merits. They captioned it, “A man who can make magic against the very best.”
Even though the video covers some of Kei’s best tennis against the Big Three, it doesn’t fully justify his greatness. Having said that, you can watch Kei’s biggest shots and rallies against the best here.
Roger Federer cancels, but Kei Nishikori to stay for Australian Open
World No. 5 and World No. 41 Federer and Nishikori aimed to make their comeback at the Aussie Open. However, the 20-time Grand Slam champion withdrew on account of not being 100% fit.
On the other side, the Japanese will look forward to making up for all the lost opportunities over the years. Kei will lead Japan at the ATP Cup in Melbourne Park for the first time starting February 1.
As he missed the 2020 Australian Open due to a right elbow injury, Kei will want to go full throttle in 2021. At both the big tournaments in Melbourne Park, World No. 1 Djokovic will defend the title.
Also Read: Has Roger Federer Embarked on the Retirement Ship Post Australian Open 2021 Withdrawal?