Kei Nishikori opens up on how Roger Federer is inspiring him to return to tennis



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Kei Nishikori opens up on how Roger Federer is inspiring him to return to tennis

Kei Nishikori admitted he realized his comments would make all the headlines only after he revealed he contemplated retirement this year. In a recent interview, Nishikori - who missed the entire 2022 season - revealed there was a time this year when he felt "very depressed" and thought about ending his career.

Nishikori, who will be turning 33 in late December, is a former Grand Slam finalist and a former top-5 player. Recently, Nishikori met 41-year-old Roger Federer, who was in Tokyo for the Uniqlo event. Now, Nishikori is motivated to return as he feels he could potentially play as long as Federer did.

Nishikori: Federer played until 40, maybe I can do something similar

"I casually mentioned that I thought about retirement, but afterwards I realized it would go into headlines, I was like, oops, I blew it. It was honest feeling, so I might not be able to hide it, or I might express it to wash away my gloomy feeling, I don't know.

I've made much effort and it's a shame to bring it to naught due to injury. I'm not sure if this is the right way to say it, but I feel like I'm kinda talented and I have reached the position that not so many people can reach, that makes me feel like it's too good to give up.

If my career-high ranking were 100, I might not have thought like that, and it would be disappointing to end my career due to injury.
Federer played tennis until 40, so I think I can keep playing five more years at the least and seven more years at the most," Nishikori told Asahi Sports.

Nishikori, who underwent a hip surgery in January, was targeting to return during the North American hard court swing. Unfortunately, Nishikori suffered setbacks and ended up missing the entire 2022 season.