After impressive wins over Milos Raonic, Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori was no match today for a red hot Marin Cilic falling to the big Croatian 63, 63, 63 in the US Open final.
Nishikori still becomes the only man from Asia to reach a Grand Slam final, and at 24 hopes are high he’ll have many more chances at Grand Slam glory.
After the loss, Nishikori spoke to the press about the loss:
Q. Obviously disappointment for tonight, but when you look at the run you have had, the matches against Raonic, Stan, Novak, I mean, making a Grand Slam final, can you also be happy tonight? I know it’s disappointing, but can you take a lot of satisfaction on what you have accomplished in this two-week period?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, for sure. There is a lot of things, positive things, that I learned from these two weeks. Yeah, it was one of worst match I played today, but also he was very aggressive and very fast. You know, I was, I have to say, a little bit nervous. A little bit, you know. First final. I mean, even semis. But very excited these two weeks. You know, I didn’t expect nothing coming here. Before I was, you know, injured and little practice. Yeah, there is so many positive things for sure that I can have from these two weeks beating Stan and, you know, Novak again. You know, disappointed of course today, but very good two weeks.
Q. My company had a camera crew in your hometown today, and you realize how much excitement there is back home, people who go to viewing parties. Talk about the feeling, what this run of yours has meant back in Japan and in your hometown and so forth.
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, here I even see a lot of news from Japan. Yeah, it’s great to, you know, bring great news to Japan. You know, tennis has not been biggest sport in Japan. Women’s, yes, but men never make this far. Really happy to make a lot of history and, you know, great compliments. Hopefully I can win next time and have something more, good result like this.
Q. What have you learned? You said you learned several things. What have you learned about your potential, your possibilities in Grand Slam tournaments, moving forward?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, first of all, I think play, you know, long three matches. You know, play two five sets and another three hours, two hours, against Novak. And now I’m here with, you know — my body is heavy still, but I can able to play. I don’t think few years ago didn’t happen like this. I think I showed, you know, my potential I can beat anybody now. So if I can keep train hard and, you know, also practice hard, I think I have more chance coming up.
Q. Do you think that the really long matches you had caught up with you a little bit today?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah. I mean, I guess. It’s not always easy to play two five sets and coming here final. But, I mean, hopefully next time I don’t have to play a lot of five sets. But still, you know, I beat top 5 guys. Milos is almost top 5. It’s a great feeling after beating those guys.
Q. Third set you seemed to have some chances in the later games, couple break points. Nervousness? Something about the way he served? What happened there?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, I got a little bit lazy in the third set. But, I don’t know, still there was so many unforced errors that I usually don’t have. It was windy. I mean, it was tough to play both of us. But he served great and very aggressive, you know, both forehand, backhand. Really tough to get confidence from today’s match.
Q. Have you spoken to Michael? If so, what did he share with you?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah. You know, we all disappointed for today. But he also, you know, congrats me because, you know, I didn’t have enough practice and nobody — I guess nobody was expecting to coming to the final. And even me also, you know, when the tournament starts. Yeah, he tell me, you know, Keep working hard, you know, like this. Like I said, you know, there are so many things, so many positive things you can get from these two weeks. Yeah, try to, you know, working hard and try to concentrate again for next tournament.
Q. Were you aware Tanaka of the Yankees came to support you? Do you know him at all? Are you a fan of his in baseball?
KEI NISHIKORI: I didn’t know. Yeah, I know he’s been doing great here. You know, very good to see, you know, Japanese doing well outside of Japan. Yeah, really want to thanks to his team, you know, to come and cheer for me.
Q. Years from now, what do you think you’ll remember most from your experience during these two weeks?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, for sure the experience will help. You know, I was a little bit tight and nervous, you know, playing first final. But, you know, to get, you know, this experience gonna help for this season and next season, too. Hopefully I can make Masters this year. That’s gonna be my next goal.
Q. What do you enjoy most that you’ll remember from being here?
KEI NISHIKORI: I mean, you know, beating top guys this week. It’s always fun to play here. A lot of people, you know, very loud. It’s always exciting to play here.
Q. It’s said that your father named you Kei because he wanted you to be a citizen of the world. Do you feel now after traveling the world and performing in the world’s biggest tennis final you are a citizen of the world?
KEI NISHIKORI: (Smiling.) Yeah. It’s really good feeling. You know, everybody call me Kei or Nishi. Actually, people still calling me Kei or Kei in U.S. But, yeah, it’s always very exciting, you know. Everybody call me my name during the match. You know, even today was very fun to play.
Q. First of all, congratulations on a terrific run. How much difference is that stadium court in the finals than the semifinals or other rounds? Is there a difference out there?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, for sure. I was feeling almost too excited from yesterday. You know, I was thinking about today’s final. You know, it is different than semis or final, you know. You know, the title is there. So many things to think about. I was trying to concentrate, but it wasn’t enough, I guess, you know. Played too many tennis on the court these two weeks. Couldn’t fight one more match. So, you know, disappointed, but it was good two weeks.
Q. Naturally a lot has been made about the fact that this is the first Grand Slam final without Rafa, Roger, Novak, or Andy Murray, that this may be a changing of the guard, the fact that you guys beat two of these players. You know, do you see it that way, what you and Marin have been able to accomplish? Do you really see this as sort of a changing of the guard, in a way? How much hope and belief does it give not only you, but players like yourself who are working hard and wanting to get maybe those Grand Slam titles themselves?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, I think it’s bring good news for the tennis. A lot of young guys are coming up. Dimitrov, Raonic did semis in Wimbledon. I think it’s great for the tennis. For me, I’m not that young anymore, so I have to — I put my pressure on myself, you know, to do well. For me, I didn’t do well in Grand Slam this couple years. You know, never make semis or quarters. So that was the goal for this year, to make semis. So even high, and I did it this year. Yeah, for sure it’s going to be a lot of changes for this couple months. Cilic and, I don’t know, Del Potro is not here, but he’s still top player. I hope I see more changes, and I hope I can make more good results.
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