Asked which player in their thirties he thinks is really brilliant, Kei Nishikori answered without hesitation “Roger Federer”, even though Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were both valid choices. Now fallen out of the top 30 after being sidelined since September 2019 especially due to a right elbow injury, Kei Nishikori found the time to sit down and let a team of his clothing sponsor, Uniqlo, interview him.
One of the most interesting questions that Nishikori had to respond to was: “Who in their 30s do you think is really brilliant?” Kei immediately nominated Roger Federer, like he hadn’t even given a thought to the likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the other parts that form the big three.
Nishikori, winner of the bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, observed something intriguing about Federer. "At practice, he is very loose even just a few days before his match while other players usually practice at their 100%.
But he is completely different in a real match," said Nishikori near the end of 2019. Moreover, let’s not forget that Uniqlo is also sponsoring Roger Federer, so this may be another factor that influenced Kei’s decision, besides the fact that he admires Roger’s practice routine.
However, Roger Federer holds the record for the most Grand Slam titles won, he has that special gracefulness on the court and still goes strong at almost 40 years old, so there are many reasons to call him “really brilliant”.