World No. 50 Yoshihito Nishioka says Kei Nishikori and Naomi Osaka have a major impact on Japanese tennis as he underlined that those two will go down as one the best Japanese tennis players ever. Nishikori, a former world No.
4, finished runner-up at the 2014 US Open, while 22-year-old Naomi Osaka has already won three Grand Slam titles and achieved a career-high ranking of No. 1 in the world. "Well, I'm still 24, almost 25, so I don't know exactly before the long time ago," Nishioka said when asked how inspired he was by Nishikori and other Japanese players.
"Yes, before Kei and Naomi's coming out, Kimiko Date, Shuzo Matsuoka, they making the history, Japanese tennis. And now Kei is coming up. Naomi is coming up. So they changing the history right now. "Kei show us he's not that tall, but he show us, you know, still we are short but we can make top player of tennis.
Asian players can make top tennis, as well. "So we believe in that and he show us, so that's why Japanese tennis growing up right now. I'm not sure of before how was it, but right now is four or five players top 100, and many players playing Grand Slams.
Almost four players win ATP Tour. "So we are right where is getting so much higher than before, and Davis Cup or ATP Cup, whatever, the team tennis also getting higher level. "So, yeah, Kei is really important for Japanese tennis.
Also Naomi, as well. Both players, two those players very important for Japanese tennis."
Nishioka knows he is not as popular as Nishikori and Osaka
Nishioka, a former world No. 48, says Japan has a number of good players but the Japanese only know for Nishikori and Osaka.
"Tennis is not major sport in Japan. So I want to try to changing like that. I want to more make major sports the tennis," Nishioka added. "Right now is many good players in Japan right now, but they know only Kei and Naomi.
They don't know other players. "But I want to tell them how very tough to play the Grand Slams or how very tough to get into top 100. So I want to tell the old Japanese people and they need to know. I want to tell that.
"Still, it's getting little by little better but still taking need time. But Kei doing so much very well, making the history right now. If I can, I want to try like almost same thing."