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    Kei Nishikori believes that Next Gen players are highly influenced by Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer’s style of play

    Kei Nishikori

    Tennis   |   December 13, 2021

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    Japan’s Kei Nishikori has been around the tennis scene for some and therefore he knows the style of play of different players like Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and others. Nishikori has faced the two legends a total of 31 times and knows their style of play. Recently in an interview with Shingo Kunieda, who is a 46-time Major champion in men’s wheelchair tennis, Nishikori highlighted how young tennis players have picked up traits from Federer and Djokovic.

    The veteran pointed out how many players of the Next Gen prefer Djokovic’s safe style of play. He further mentioned the likes of Alexandre Zverev and Daniil Medvedev have taken traits from Djokovic’s safe style of play.

    “Following Djokovic, these days players tend to focus on probability, try to avoid unforced errors and kind of play safe, hit cross court shots on defence, like Medvedev, Zverev, players who can execute that surely are absolutely dominant now,” Kei Nishikori said.

    However, once he made that comment, Nishikori was fast to raise a counterpoint. He picked the likes of Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner to be more associated with Federer’s aggressive style of play.

    “At the same time players like Alcaraz or Sinner are coming, play aggressive like Federer, there can’t be perfect tennis for everybody,” Nishikori added.

    Despite being only 31, Nishikori comes from the same era of Federer and Djokovic. Therefore the Japanese star feels that it is impossible to drastically change his style rather he would be open to making some tweaks to his style of play to improve.

    “It’s impossible to change my tennis (drastically), all I have to do is try to improve my weapons, like, play with quicker tempo than others,” Nishikori said.

    The 31-year-old has been hustling in the tennis scene for a long time but he has a poor record against Djokovic. The Japanese tennis star has faced Djokovic a total of 20 times till now and has only won twice. The first win came back in 2011 in Basel and that was their only second meeting. However, his record against Federer is superb. The Japanese has faced Federer on 11 occasions and have won a whopping eight times being a thorn in the flesh for the Swiss legend.

    Nishikori around the years 2015-16 was the best. It was during this time he broke into the top 5 ATP rankings, the only Japanese to do so in the Open Era. He also won the Bronze medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

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