May 27, 2017

Nishikori Becomes First Japanese Man in French Open Fourth Round since 1938

Kei Nishikori

(June 1, 2013) With his 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-1 victory over No. 24 Benoit Paire of France on Saturday, 13the seed Kei Nishikori became the first man from Japan to reach the round of 16 at Roland Garros since 1938 when Nakano Fumiteru accomplished the feat.

When told about his history-making accomplishment, Nishikori had no idea about the record: “Sorry, I’m not good at the history. “

”I’m happy to create another history and, yeah, happy to break another record.”

During the match there was a bit of controversy when Paire was called for illegal coaching by chair umpire Enric Molina and penalized a point while he had a set point on Nishikori’s serve at 5-4 in the second set. The world No. 13 went on to hold serve.

“For sure, it’s not fair. You see every coach do the same thing,” Paire said. “If it’s the best player in the world, (Molina) doesn’t (give a) warning.”

Nishikori did not see it.

“I didn’t see it, and I didn’t know what’s happening in the match.

“They didn’t explain me, and I didn’t care, said a smiling Nishikori.

“But, you know, I heard what’s happen after the match, and, I mean, I heard it was coaching.  I mean, I didn’t see, you know, how much he did.  I cannot say anything.”

“Other player see the coaches, and it’s not fair to give advice, but I also do, you know, see my coach and just not ‑‑ he’s not going to give me advice, but just to relax or concentrate, “ the Japanese player added.

Nishikori faces the ultimate challenge in his next match when he faces seven-time champion Rafael Nadal for a place in the quarterfinals.

Nishikori is happy to be making progress on the tour since he burst on the tour in 2008, having to deal with a few injuries along the way.

“The last year was getting better.  I was first time to be top 20, and my tennis was changing, you know.  You need a lot of experience to be there, and I try to not doing, you know, crazy mistakes and try to be there all the time.

“That’s something what I’m working on still, so ‑‑ yeah, I had big injury 2009.  I have to pass one year without tennis, and that made little stop.

“But I’m happy to be here now and, yeah, this year is going well for me, so hopefully keep going.”