Kei Nishikori confesses: "I still have a lot of desire but I don't have a clear goal"

The Japanese returned to play after more than nine months of absence from the Tour at the Miami Open

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Kei Nishikori confesses: "I still have a lot of desire but I don't have a clear goal"
© Adam Hagy / Stringer Getty Images Sport

"I've never lost motivation. It's always there. I don't have a clear goal right now. I just want to play a lot of games. I enjoyed the match, but what I did is not enough to beat a top 50. But I'm quite happy with the way I played. I still have a lot of desire and I can't wait to play more tournaments."

Kei Nishikori, tormented by hip and knee problems in recent seasons, confessed that his main goal is to play as many matches as possible to reach an acceptable physical shape and gain more and more confidence.

The Japanese returned to the court at the Miami Open thanks to a wild card granted by the tournament board, nine months after the last tournament played, the ATP 250 in Atlanta. The former US Open finalist was defeated by Sebastian Ofner 3-6, 4-6, but still played a good match, considering how long he had been out due to the serious injury.

Kei Nishikori
Kei Nishikori© Adam Hagy / Stringer Getty Images Sport

Kei Nishikori: "I think I can still play at my level"

The Japanese obviously needed to find his match rhythm and, in the match against the Austrian, he was unable to raise his level in the decisive moments.

"I think I'm able to get back to playing at my level. I didn't succeed in Miami, but during training I play tennis quite well. It will take time, but I will continue to fight. I hope to play the tournaments in Houston, Barcelona and Madrid on clay, because I really like this surface. Only if I consistently lose in the first round could I put some Challenger events on my calendar. Not for now," he explained.

"I'm still very excited about this comeback. It's been too long since I last competed, the last few months have been tough, all kinds of unexpected events have happened and now it's time to rebuild my confidence and pace of competition. I think having overcome difficult times makes me mentally stronger. I want to enjoy every moment as a professional tennis player," she said at the press conference.

"I have never lost my love for tennis, I have a great motivation to face the best in the world, especially the young people who are now at the top and against whom I have never played.

I would like to face Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner. Today it's the players I enjoy watching the most on television. My feeling is that tennis has changed a lot in a short time and this is due to what Carlos and Jannik are doing.

I've honestly never seen such young players with that talent and consistency. They have a great hand, they can hit the ball very hard and it's fun to watch their game because they are powerful but also make imaginative plays. I'd like to face them one day," he added.

Kei Nishikori Miami Open