Former world No. 4 Kei Nishikori lost to Daniil Medvedev at the ATP Cup but he later drew positives from his performance. Nishikori, now ranked at No. 41 in the world, stood no chance against Medvedev as the Russian won 6-2 6-4.
Nishikori, who underwent an elbow surgery in late 2019, played in only four tournaments last year. "I've changed my serving form, I'm not used to it yet, but I think my serve was good," Nishikori said, per Seiadoumogera/Twitter.
"I had a bad start, couldn't hit clean at all, but it was not so bad overall today, I still have lots of things to work on though."
Nishikori lifted his level in the second set
Nishikori claimed one break in the first set but lost his serve three times as Medvedev comfortably won the opener.
In the second set, Medvedev converted the lone break point of the set in the ninth game before serving out for the match a game later. "I couldn't keep my level, had more ups and downs than usual, but stamina-wise it was better than expected.
I'm getting better everyday, the first (on-court practice) day was just horrible," Nishikori said. "In the second set, everything was good. Sometimes I missed volleys and lost important points maybe due to bad timing (of coming to the net), and I hope I will have more stable stroke.
There were as many good points as bad points." Medvedev, ranked at No. 4 in the world, beat Nishikori and sealed the win for Russia over Japan. "Honestly I didn't want to play a top 10 player in my first match, I wish I could have played those players later with more confidence.
He didn't give me easy points, his shots were deep, his quality was high. But overall, it was way better than my comeback match in last September," Nishikori admitted.