World No. 84 Kei Nishikori has revealed that his short-term priority will be to quickly improve his ranking position as he does not want to play Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic in the early rounds of tournaments. Nishikori, 32, has not played since the end of 2021 as he is recovering from hip surgery.
Nishikori, who reached a career-high ranking of his world No. 4 in 2015, believes he can make a successful comeback and be a top 10 player again. "As I said before, first of all, I want to get back to the ranking until now.
First, I still have some goals to be able to get back to the top 10, but I will eventually get back to that position," Nishikori said during a press conference with Uniqlo, according to Sportskeeda. "So that he can fight in the second half of the tournament instead of the current (Rafael) Nadal or (Novak) Djokovic in the first round.
It's a great feeling that I want to go back to that place." After withdrawing from the last four tournaments he had on his 2021 schedule, Nishikori expected to be ready for the start of the 2022 season. Unfortunately, that was not the case and Nishikori decided to have hip surgery in January.
After missing the entire first half of the season, Nishikori will also be out for the entire grass-court season. However, Nishikori hopes to be able to compete at the US Open, which begins on August 29. "If everything goes well, it is possible that I can play the US Open this year.
I try to be ready in time for the Rakuten Japan Open in October, if it is held this year.
Djokovic disappointed in Paris
Former World No. 1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov recently gave his thoughts on the impressive Roland Garros quarterfinal match between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal on Tuesday.
"From the first point, it was clear that Novak… I don't know what, but something bothered him. I hope it's not physical and I don't think it is because he ran well and covered the field. Maybe it was mental, because everyone at Philippe Chatrier was cheering for Nadal.
The man has won Roland Garros 13 times and the fans are definitely emotionally fond of him," he said. "I think it bothered Novak a little. I’m sure the Paris audience loves Novak too, but with Rafa, it’s a special story. I understand Novak, but I also understand the sympathy of the audience towards Rafa," said Kafelnikov.