Kei Nishikori explains how pain affected his play in 2019

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Kei Nishikori explains how pain affected his play in 2019

Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori claims he is still motivated to work hard and get stronger as the younger generation is coming and he is aware that he has to be prepared well in order to keep up with them. Nishikori, 30, hasn't had luck with his health over the past few seasons but he is determined to overcome all the challenges and return to the court even stronger.

"Definitely. Strong youngsters are coming these says, that also motivates me to try hard," Nishikori said on TBS S1, when asked if he's still eager to get stronger.

In late 2019 October, world No.

31 Nishikori decided to undergo a season-ending elbow surgery and switch his focus to fully recovering from the surgery and being ready for the start of the 2020 season. After making the quarterfinal at Wimbledon last year, Nishikori was struggling to perform at a high level as he lost his openers at the Masters events in Montreal and Cincinnati.

Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner up, then won his first two matches at Flushing Meadows before he was beaten by Alex de Minaur in the third round. Nishikori hoped he would be able to return to the court before the end of the season but that wasn't the case as he opted for a season-ending surgery.

"Last year, I put up with pain and kept playing, but the pain was getting worse as I played more matches. I couldn't focus on playing, the pain more occupied my thoughts than what happened on the previous point," Nishikori revealed.

Nishikori admits there was anxiety

Nishikori was preparing to make a comeback in late-March or early-April but then the season got suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"When I picked up a racquet for the first time after my surgery, I felt really scared. I'm forgetful, so I was like, 'how did I hold a racquet?' "I'm really looking forward to playing matches. I want to enjoy staying there on court rather than expect myself to be perfect, and play with joy."

Nishikori recently added Max Mirnyi to his coaching staff and speaking of the addition, he said: "I've started wanting to get stronger more and more, and I had to change my playing style for that.

I got advice that I should step forward a bit more, and have learned the mindset to step forward to win a point, not to just take a chance."