Kei Nishikori won his first Olympic medal today beating Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-7(1), 6-3 in Rio this afternoon.
Nishikori becomes the first Japanese medalist in 96 years and it’s just the Olympic tennis medal for Japan.
“I’m very happy to win, to get a medal today, even though third place. It means a lot for me to especially beat Rafa today,” Nishikori said today after the 2-hour, 49-minute win.
“I knew before playing Olympics that if I can play good tennis, good, solid tennis, I have a chance to get a medal, he said. “I was playing for my country. This is something different from other tour. But I was very enjoying. For sure this experience will help for my confidence and for my future.”
Nishikori had chances to serve out the second set but failed to do so on two occasions at 5-2 and 5-4.
The win was his third over a Top 10 player this week and he earns just his second career win over Nadal in 11 tries.
The match however, was not without controversy. After dropping the second, Nishikori left the court and went to the locker room where he reportedly took a shower!
Kei Nishikori supposedly took a shower after Rafa took the 2nd set. I didnt even know that was allowed?
— Rafaholics™ (@Rafaholics) August 14, 2016
Whether or not Nishikori took a shower or not, after the lengthy “clothing change” or “toilet break” he came back refreshed and comfortably closed out the Spaniard in the decider.
Nadal reportedly wasn’t pleased with Nishikori’s tactics.
And Rafa’s wrist remains an issue.
“The wrist is not perfect. It bothers me when I hit the forehand. The serve, the backhand – nothing else bothers me,” Nadal said after the loss.
“The truth is, when I hit the forehand, I feel it bothering me a little bit, but without a doubt it’s been a positive week in all aspects. I’ve played for many hours and the wrist at least didn’t get worse.”
Both players will now head to Cincinnati where, if they do play, they could be on court as early as Tuesday evening.
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