Andre Agassi: Kei Nishikori Is One Of The Few Players I’d Pay Money To See
by Staff | January 8th, 2015, 11:28 pm



Time Magazine ASIA features new tennis star Kei Nishikori on its cover this month. Inside, the magazine offers a lengthy profile on Nishikori, here’s a sample of what you can expect:

Andre Agassi tells TIME of Nishikori: “Kei is one of the few players that I’d pay money to see play. He’s one of the greatest shotmakers in the game, so I don’t see why he can’t proceed further [up the rankings].”

Hannah Beech writes, “Many Japanese don’t consider Nishikori completely Japanese anymore: his aggressive prowling of the baseline and his leaping forehand aren’t products of Japanese-style tennis, which tends to favor skill and finesse over power and brio…The fact that Nishikori’s game was shaped overseas raises an uncomfortable question about Japan: Why have so many of the nation’s most accomplished citizens had to leave home in order to thrive?”

Nishikori explains why many Japanese don’t consider him to be completely Japanese anymore: “Culturally, maybe Asians don’t tend to have as much confidence as Americans do. I’m Japanese, of course, but spending so long in America has made me into a different kind of person…I love Japan and it’s my home, but I can’t really relax here.”

Nishikori’s father, Kiyoshi, explains the lack of successful tennis players from Japan: “Japanese tennis players have not been very successful because their individualism is weak compared to overseas players.” Nishikori’s longtime agent, Olivier van Lindonk, adds: “Japan’s such a respectful culture, but you don’t get ahead in tennis by bowing.”

On his decision to leave his Japanese hometown for the U.S. to pursue tennis, Nishikori says: “I knew immediately I wanted to go to Florida. I would do anything for tennis.”

On the initial struggles he faced adjusting to American culture: “I didn’t know how to express my opinions. I was a bit afraid to say what I thought because I hadn’t yet been influenced by American culture…In English, you can more easily say what you want. It’s so open and natural. I really appreciate that.”

When asked about his 2008 match with Andy Roddick, Nishikori’s smile vanishes: “I’d rather not talk about it. It’s a bit rude to discuss all that. I don’t want to say something bad about another player.”

Playing in Brisbane this week, Nishikori is through to the semifinals after a 6-0, 6-4 win over Australian Bernard Tomic. He will play Milos Raonic in the semifinals.

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5 Comments for Andre Agassi: Kei Nishikori Is One Of The Few Players I’d Pay Money To See Says:

I can’t comment about the cultural issues here, but I’ll make a prediction to get Tennis-Xers talking. The X has lately fallen in love with Nishikori, as “we” fell for Dmitrov a couple years ago, and Gulbis before that.
As with them, I think the greatness X expects will not come to pass. Nishikori MAY win a Slam. But I don’t see him reaching even Murray’s level of achievement. He is a slightly improved Davydenko. Davydenko reached #3, Kei may never do that. Kei has reached a Slam final, but Davy lost 3 Slam semis to a dominant Fed.
I love the challenge being posed to the Big Three by Kei, Milos and Grigor, but I believe it is ephemeral. The Kyrgioses and Thiems will be here before we know it and this weak generation will pass much like the New Balls group did- recall that Fed was never even included in that group, which boasted Roddick, Safin and Hewitt. They won one or two slams each and then were eclipsed by Federer and soon Rafa.
I believe the same will happen to Kei, Milos and Grigor. They will have a brief moment, and then some world shakers, REAL world shakers, will come up through the ranks.
NOW, all that meanness aside: I love Kei, I love his game, and I really enjoy seeing he and his cohort taking a strong place in the hierarchy, supplanting Berdych, Tsonga, Ferrer… but I don’t see them being very much more successful.
Argue away! Says:

p.s. Davy reached #3 at 25. Kei is 25.

sienna Says:

only 1 challenge had real and formidable power.
That challenge did not come from any of those mentioned by TV.

Cilic is the name and faultless powerplay is his game.

Nishikori was blown out of the mens USOpen finale by aan real men. Cilic took the price outplaying, outrunning, defensie, attacking, serving, the final was between men and boy.

Still you Tx posters claim Nishikori as next big thing.


sienna Says:

Not much to argue.

pushing players who where brushed aside by Cilic.
Cilic taking down Nishikori with ease in final.
No chance. you Tx are pulling deadhorses compaired with the magtitude of Cilic level of play now he has come of age.

tennismonger Says:

Hard to come of age in tennis when you’re out with injuries. Maybe Nish can give Cilic some tips on staying injury-free!

No doubt he’s a certified expert in that area!

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