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An Interview With: Kei Nishikori

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Q. How were you able to hold up physically? How did you feel physically today compared to the end of the Raonic match?

KEI NISHIKORI: It was okay. Yesterday was, you know, my body was tight. I was a little bit tired yesterday, but today was almost, you know, not 100% but close to, you know, feeling pretty good my body. It's great for my confidence, you know, play two five-sets straight and a lot of 7-6. Yeah, it was, you know, tough game, especially after losing fourth set. You know, it was very close tiebreak, you know, but I was playing much better in third and fourth and I have more confidence to get in the fifth set. So, you know, I tried to focus on my service game. I just took, yeah, one chance in the end.

Q. Are these two matches that you think that four, five, six months ago or maybe before Michael started working with you you could have won both of these in the past?

KEI NISHIKORI: Um, I don't know. I always love to play five sets. I think I have good records for, you know, winning third or fifth sets. It's not like I love to play five sets, but I have a lot of confidence to play in the fifth. I get more concentration and my tennis is getting better playing in the fourth or fifth sets. Yeah, these two match, it's gonna help for sure.

Q. Given your concerns about entering the tournament, given your fitness and health, are you surprised you have held up the way you have?

KEI NISHIKORI: A little bit, yes. Because especially I didn't play much tennis. I was doing a lot of fitness training before two weeks, but I wasn't hitting too much. Started play points a few days ago before the tournament.

Q. When you say fitness training, what sorts of things?

KEI NISHIKORI: Other than tennis.

Q. Cardiovascular?

KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, cardio, a lot of weights training. Yeah, everything, like pool workouts.

Q. So what do you think about so far your US Open?

KEI NISHIKORI: It's been great. Especially playing good all the matches. Yeah, especially these two matches, you know, beating top-10 player. Yeah, look forward to playing semis.

Q. How did the two of you meet, you and Chang? How big of a difference does it make having him as a coach? And can you actually celebrate a little bit or be happy for your win right now?

KEI NISHIKORI: Ah, yes. Yes, I'm happy to win this match today. But, you know, the tournament, it's still going. Yeah, we started end of last year. It's been working well. Him and Dante is working me very hard and a lot of practice on the court and couple things to change my tennis. You know, a little more aggressive than before and stepping more in. A little bit minor change. It's been working well. I'm very happy that our, I don't know, communication.

Q. How did the two of you come together, you and Michael Chang? How did that happen?

KEI NISHIKORI: We met first time two years ago in exhibition in Japan. I was looking for, you know, coach end of last year. He was the one that came up. Yeah, it's been working well. Yeah, I love it now.

Q. Can you look ahead to your potential opponent in the next round?

KEI NISHIKORI: I don't know. We'll see. I mean, both players gonna be tough. I don't know. Not much to say. (Smiling.)

Q. When you got out of here Monday - or Tuesday morning - what time did you get into bed and were you able to go to sleep? How did that affect your game from having the late, late match the other night?

KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, I slept at 6:00 a.m. That was a little bit tough because I never had that experience. But always, you know, good to win after 2:30 a.m. I had a little bit jet lag today. (Smiling.) No, it's good. It's good. My body is good.

Q. Michael is known for his mental toughness. Do you see that similarity in that? And what did Michael say to you after this big win, if you can share that with us?

KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, he's also helping me mental, too. Very strong mental he has. You know, he's telling me a lot of things to, I don't know, to stay focused in the match and never get frustrated too much and always pump up yourself. Yeah, he told me congrats, you know, to win this battle. Two in a row. But he also say, you know, It's not done. Stay focus and try to recover these two days, and hopefully I have another good one next one.

Q. I think that's my final question. How have the people in Japan responded? Have you heard anything?

KEI NISHIKORI: I don't know. I don't know. I live in U.S. so I don't get much news. I mean, all my friends, you know, congrats me, but I hope it's big news in Japan.

Q. Do you have any family here with you?


Q. Who's here with you?

KEI NISHIKORI: My parents.

Q. Your parents are here?


Q. Do they often travel or not too often?

KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, all the Grand Slams.

Q. All the Grand Slams?


Q. You live in the States, but how does it feel to be the first Japanese man to make the semis in the US Open in nearly 100 years?

KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, very honored to make the history. I always love to play here because I feel a little bit like home, you know. It's very close where I live. Also a lot of Asian and Japanese fans come up. Always fun to play here. I always enjoy.