Kei Nishikori: 'I'm getting closer to Federer and Nadal's level'

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Kei Nishikori: 'I'm getting closer to Federer and Nadal's level'

For the first time in his career Kei Nishikori decided to play on clay in February. The Japanese player will play Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro in these two weeks and has good feelings heading in these two tournaments. 'I like to play on clay and I think it will be a good preparation for the European season on this surface.

I hope to win these two events and to earn confidence before Indian Wells,' said Nishikori, who practiced for two weeks in the United States. Speaking about the Australian Open battle between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, Nishikori said: 'It was a great final, I think that both could have won it.

For me it was difficult to lose to Roger, but I learned many things from that match. I think I am getting closer to that level too.' Nishikori missed the first round Davis Cup tie that Japan lost to France in the first week of February.

'I didn't play because it was in Japan. Too far to come here (Argentina) after that,' he explained. 'Three or four Davis Cup ties per year is maybe a bit too much.' The 27-year-old is aware of his popularity in his native country.

'It's a little bit crazy, many people follow me when I go to Japan. It's good for Japanese tennis, there are a couple of younger players who are doing well. I like to see more and people involved in the sport. It's something strange that many Japanese journalists attend events.

But living in United States allows me not to feel much pressure. It's easier for me.' Nishikori will play his first match on Wednesday or Thursday against Facundo Bagnis or Diego Schwartzman. ALSO READ: Roger Federer attends Skiing World Cup in St. Moritz, says his feet were frozen!