Former ATP ace recalls Roger Federer's retirement
by SIMONE BRUGNOLI | VIEW 3149
Kei Nishikori revealed that he enjoyed almost every match against Roger Federer even though he ended up on the losing side in most of them. Nishikori, 32, first played Federer in 2011, when the Swiss beat him in the Basel final.
After losing to Federer in his first match, Nishikori won their next two meetings. Federer responded by winning their next six meetings, before Nishikori defeated the Swiss again at the 2018 Atp Finals. Their last meeting was at Wimbledon 2019, when Federer beat Nishikori to take an 8-3 head-to-head lead.
"All the matches against him are impressive. I have lost in many of them, but it is a great experience to play against him, I have learned a lot from each game. When I played against him for the first time in Basel, he beat me very easily, like he flew by in 10 minutes.
I was overwhelmed by the atmosphere and also by my admiration for him. After that, I have started to consider him a rival to beat even though he is my idol. His matches are fun, great, full of amazing shots, just perfect. That's something we all admire," Nishikori told Daily Online.
Federer, 41, retired from professional tennis after the Laver Cup. Nishikori, who faced Federer 11 times at the top level, says he will always remember the Swiss as a very cool guy. "Roger is the same on and off the court, very funny on the court and great off the court too, I don't have any of his (embarrassing/funny) episodes.
I had a training block with him when I was 16 or 17, It was a great experience for me, I'm thankful for it," Nishikori revealed.
Courier pays tribute to King Roger
Courier reflected on that epic night on a recent episode of the Tennis Channel Inside-In podcast, also praising Roger Federer for never shying away from expressing pure emotion on the court.
"I was ready for it, I knew it was going to be significant. I anticipated a lot of emotion from Roger, what I didn't anticipate was the emotion from everyone else on the court. I certainly expected the crowd to be emotional when Roger got emotional, because he is emotional.
We've seen him cry when he wins, when he loses, he gives it, which is great," Jim Courier said. "What was unforeseen was the emotion coming from his peer group, especially Rafa, Novak, Andy, the core group there. Rafa was especially emotional.
That was really an amazing energy. I kind of appreciate that they were seeing their end in his end, in a way, it's kind of telling also," Courier expressed.