ATP Rotterdam: Kei Nishikori "played solid in the important moments" against Felix Auger-Aliassime
Photo: Kyodo


Kei Nishikori returned to the winners circle after a 7-6 (4), 6-1 victory over seventh seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in the first round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament.

Among the topics he discussed with the media were the win over the Canadian, his comeback from injury and whether or not his best years are still ahead of him.

"I think I played very solid"

After his first victory in five months, Nishikori shared his thoughts on his performance, which saw him improve his record against Auger-Aliassime to 2-0 lifetime.

"(The) first set, it was (a) very tight game. I think he had more chances than me. He was serving great. He made a lot of first serves. I couldn't get many points on his first serve. A lot of easy games for him.

"Somehow, I fought through in (the) tiebreaker. I think I played very solid and in the important moments, I think I played good points. I served great in the last two points (of the tiebreaker). 

"For sure, his injury caused him (to) not (be) moving well. It was a little easier for me, but I was playing a little more confidently and getting used to the surface. I was feeling better, especially in the second set."

"I'm very happy i'm back on the court"

When asked about the various injuries that have kept him out of action for so long, Nishikori was unsure how what the primary cause was, but he's satisfied with where he is now.

"It's tough to say whether it's me not doing enough or how I was born with my body. I think some of them (players) have great bodies or some of them like Juan Martin Del Potro or Tommy Haas has great talent, but sometimes (they) cannot play because of injuries.

"I try to think that when it happens, I just look forward to rehab. I spent as lot of time with my shoulder last year. I had surgery two years ago. Not easy, but i'm very happy i'm back on the court. I'm really happy to be back on the tour."

"I hope so. I always think like that. I don't think i'm old yet. I'm 31, but someone like Novak (Djokovic(, Rafa (Nadal), Roger (Federer) is coming back. I hope I can play many more years. I hope I have a good solid year.

"It's tough. I don't know if I should stay stronger. I don't feel more tired than in my 20's, so that's a good thing. I just have to keep working hard, especially (on) my body. I just try to be prepared and I hope I can play many more years."

On facing De Minaur and the Olympics

On playing Alex de Minaur in the second round, the 31-year old, who lost to the Aussie two years ago at the U.S. Open, said "(He's) a great player. One of the fastest guys on tour. He's been playing great" 

With the Olympics in Nishikori's home land of Japan, he commented on that, stating  "of course, I want it to happen, but I haven't heard any news yet, but I hope it happens. I know many tough things are waiting if they want it to happen, but i'm sure everyone wants to play, but safety is first, so we'll see."