2014 ATP Finals Profile: Kei Nishikori
by Sean Randall | November 6th, 2014, 10:08 am

Age: 24

Current ATP Rank: 5

2014 Highlights: 4 titles – Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Barcelona, Memphis; US Open and Madrid Finals; Paris, Miami SFS

ATP Finals History: None

Notable Stat: Since the start of the US Open, has won 18 of his last 21 matches; he’s also the first Asian-born man to make the ATP Finals (coach Michael Chang was born in the USA)

Finals Outlook: Since many here and elsewhere are picking Nishikori as a solid sleeper, would he really be one if he makes the semifinals? If there’s one guy who can surprise, I do think that guy is Nishikori, so I’m joining that chorus. He’s adaptable against anyone and really can beat just about anyone – he’s beaten Djokovic, Raonic and Wawrinka this fall. But it’s a tough and unfortunate group for him with Federer, who I don’t think he can beat, and Murray, who just does everything better than Kei. I like him against Raonic, though, and maybe he can pull off an upset over Roger or Andy who might feel some added pressure opening Sunday in a match the Scot’s expected to win. Had he landed in Group A I’d probably have tabbed him to make the SFs. Asking him to do the same out of Group B might be too much.

Swing Match: v Raonic

Projected Finish: Last in Group B (1-2)

Next player evaluation: Stan Wawrinka

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10 Comments for 2014 ATP Finals Profile: Kei Nishikori

skeezer Says:

Glad to see Kei made it, hopefully he can stir up some trouble at WTF.

Brando GOAT poster Says:

Likely going to get shellacked for saying this but true to character: I don’t care anyhow, here goes: Kei Nishikori- by a clear distance- is the best player of his generation, a future (certain IF health permits) grand slam champion, a talent who can beat Nadal, Djokovic even if they play great since he brings genuine skill of note himself to the table and had he been 6 foot plus and healthy like him I would predict him to do a Nole 11′ type storm in 2015 since such is his excellent talent. He fears no name since he has complete faith in his own game, he revels in the big arena since he knows he was destined to berth such a stage and there really is no limit to what he can achieve should his fitness pay heed to his wishes. Hard court, Indoor and Clay: he’ll be a title contender for every event he enters in 2015, and he will win atleast one master series in 2015. Book it! As for WTF: IF he gets out his group he can go all the way since I feel that is his biggest challenge here since IF he’s fresh and firing I see zero reason why he should fear or be deemed a instant second to any of the entrants. Barring Nole: he has a strong a case to the title as any of rest.

Brando GOAT poster Says:

PS: his run at the USO was the best performance by any player this season in a event full of fight that even the likes of Nadal would regard highly and the exhibition of talent on the big stage that only a genuine champion can showcase in such a manner. His time will most certainly come and really HE not others is the most exciting player to look out for in 2015. It’s genuinely exciting thinking of the heights this talent can hit in the future.

Ben Pronin Says:

What do you consider Nishikori’s generation? Raonic and Dimitrov?

I don’t really know what you wanna call his generation but I agree that this guy is tremendously talented. And I’ve been saying it for a while that if he hadn’t been plagued by injuries he would’ve been at the top a long time ago.

There’s 2 key differences in Nishikori and Murray. Murray is stil defensive minded. If Nishikori is healthy and playing well, he could be doing a lot of the dictating because he hugs the baseline like no other. He had Djokovic running ragged at the US Open. However, a point always starts with the serve, and Murray wins this category big time. They both have weak second serves so they’ll both feast on them. But if Murray is hitting his first serve well, he wins. Nishikori’s first serve isn’t that good even when he gets it in.

RZ Says:

I am thrilled at how well Kei has done this year. I think he has the most upside of the “young guns” as long as he can stay injury free.

Brando GOAT poster Says:

@Ben: you have hit the nail on the head in excellent fashion re Andy and Kei! Brilliant stuff I wanted to post. Put simply: to win the Grand Slams at some point in the match- a decisive one- the player has to be aggressive and go for the kill. You don’t sheepishly make your way to the winners podium but only do so when in the big moments you go for the kill, take the initiative and be aggressive. Fed does this naturally. Boom: 17 Grand Slams. Nadal understands this: boom: talks of saying to himself in the FO final that ‘the moment is now, be aggressive and die trying rather than waiting for something may not happen’. Thats his mindset, instinct and he knows when to strike and he stepped up: to the tune of 14 Grand Slam. Ditto Novak: he knows and understands how it’s important to be aggressive hence wanting to go to the net more. 7 slams and counting. Kei also gets this and is very much inclined to do this naturally. Hence: spanking Rafa on clay. Hence beating Nole at the USO. He gets that if you want to win you got to force the issue. Muzza- as dearly as I love him- just does not do this enough. Nowhere near enough. He’s far too conservative at times and that allows others to step up, take the initiative and take control of matters. In the talent department? He’ll give Fed a run for his money. But in the mindset department, knowing when to go for the kill, die trying to force the issue: he lags way behind some of the others. Kei has the fight, guts and relish for the scrap as shown at the USO but ultimately: knows that you being aggressive is a must v the top players. Hence for this reason: will he win more Slams than andy from here forth? It could happen…..

Daniel Says:

Kei weal spot still is his fitness or injury. One never know how he will behave next match and anyhting can happen. Right now all eyes on him and Marin to replicate their US Open runs. But none takes te ball more on the rise and change directions at will like him do. A Mix of Davydenko a d Nalbandian. If only he could have a better serve and stornger body.

Hippy Chick Says:

I hope Kei puts in a good showing here at the WTFs,but more than anything, i hope he bags a GS sooner or later,best of luck Kei,i predicted that he would make top 10 this year,in last years competition….

Thangs Says:

Why you think he can’t beat Federer? He has 2-2 record against him.

brando GOAT poster Says:

@thangs: I think it’s mainly because most are unaware of kei’s record versus Fed.

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