Kei Nishikori: The Life Beyond His International Tennis Career

The Life of Kei Nishikori

Rising tennis star

Kei Nishikori was born in the Matsue District of the Shimane prefecture in Japan on December 29, 1989. He is probably one of the most internationally renowned tennis players in all of Japan. He is one of the few Japanese tennis players, in the singles category, who have won back-to-back tournaments against other A-list tennis stars like David Ferrer and Marin Cilic. He has started his career at a very young age and the 28-year-old can be considered to be very much accomplished in his two-decades-long careers.

By globalite [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

He started playing tennis at the young age of five and has been a part of tennis clinics and organizations since then. He has been coached by famous sportsmen like Dante Bottini, Brad Gilbert 1990’s World rank 4, Michael Chang, the world’s former World rank 2 tennis player. His first ever notable title was in 2001 when he won the All Japan Tennis Championships for Kids.

Since his win in the All Japan Tennis Championships for Kids, many scouts knew that his career is about to start skyrocketing. He has been invited to join a couple of Tennis organizations and clinics before officially joining the IMG Academy in Florida, one of the most notable sports training schools in all of North America. As a junior, his first international win was from the Riad 21 held in Morocco. For his first French open in 2006, he immediately joined the ranks of quarter-finalists. In his junior career, he achieved an overall world ranking of No. 7 in 2006.

General Statistics and Profile

General Career Record and Kei Nishikori’s General Ranking

Currently, for the singles division, of which he has been playing for since he began his career, Nishikori has an overall statistic of 343-162. This means that he has won 343 times and lost 162 times leading to a winning average of about 68% of his tournaments since the beginning of his career. For the doubles division, of which he just recently joined, he, unfortunately, has a record of 24-26. He is currently placed 24th in world rankings with his highest ranking as 4th in 2015.

Kei Nishikori Height, his equipment, and playing hand

Standing at only 1.78 m, Kei Nishikori can be considered to be shorter than many other international tennis masters. And many experts would know that in most tennis games, height is typically an advantage especially with faster and more efficient serves. It is known that taller men hit more aces than their shorter counterparts. Regardless, he proved to be a great player with impressive returns and faster movements. His capabilities have proved that a player’s height does not dictate a player’s capability to perform.

By Kate (Flickr: Kei Nishikori) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Kei Nishikori has his right hand as his playing hand and is best known for his two-handed backhand. Nishikori is quite well-known for making consistent and accurate shots and swings on both wings. He is also quite well-known for his Western forehand style. His best point would be his ability to return serves, with quick execution and impressive accuracy. Among the aspects, many experts believe he needs to constantly improve would be his serve. Though not his strong point, it has not hindered him to win titles during his career.

Nishikori Number of Titles

Currently, Nishikori has a total of eleven (11) titles all of which are from the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Singles division. He has a total of 6 ATP Tour 500 wins and 5 ATP Tour 250 championships. Both the ATP tour 500 and ATP tour 250 series are considered among the five highest tiers of tennis tournaments for men.

On top of all these championship titles, Nishikori also counts either as a finalist or a quarterfinalist in many tournaments like 2016 Miami Open, 2016 Rogers Cup, 2014 US Open, 2014 ATP World Tour, and more. He is also considered as a runner-up in many championship cups, among the most famous would be the men’s singles division for the 2014 Grand Slam Tournament Finals, losing against Marin Cilic.

Kei Nishikori Net Worth

In 2017, Nishikori was considered as the World’s Top Three paid tennis players. His total earnings are at an estimated value of 33.9 million USD. He is the most popular tennis player in Japan winning him multiple endorsements. A superstar of his own right, some companies even exclusively and locally distribute merchandise due to his wide following and popularity.

He was the primary endorser of the Wilson Burn 95 and the Steam racquet. In fact, Wilson has actively capitalized in his popularity locally that a special version of the Steam racquet was made and sold exclusively in Japan. In 2012, the Steam Pro was advertised to be at par with the specifications of his actual racquet. He is currently using Wilson Burn 100 since 2015.

He has a number of advertisements which include Nissin foods, Morinaga & Company, and more. For apparel, he currently advertises Uniqlo, Tag Heuer, and is known to wear cup noodle badges on his sleeve in most of his games. He is also a popular endorser for Delta Air Lines and Japan Airlines. For this advertisement, the Japan Airlines has launched the JET-KEI which is a Boeing 777 with his faced embellished on the aircraft’s body.

Kei Nishikori Meets Nujabes

One of the most interesting Kei Nishikori merchandise would be the ‘Kei Nishikori Meets Nujabes’ CD. Nujabes was a Japanese DJ and record producer who creates mixes and music from different genres. Most of his works are instrumentals and it ranges from Hip Hop, Jazz, Bossa Nova, and more. Nujabes died in 2010 due to a traffic accident.

The CD, as it is titled and described, is Kei Nishikori giving honor and remembrance to Nujabes. He literally picked a few songs out of Nujabes’ old releases and creates a mixtape (CD) of it. In many interviews and profiles, he is often described to be an avid music lover and among his favorites would be Nujabes. Nishikori even describes that he enjoys the music so much that he listens to him during his training sessions.

Kei Nishikori and his Tournaments

  • French Open - Kei Nishikori has joined the French open multiple times in the previous years. He has reached the quarterfinals twice during the years 2015 and 2017.
  • Olympics – Kei Nishikori represented Japan in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the 2016 Olympics. He was able to successfully land a bronze medal in the men’s single division.
  • ATP World Tour – He has successfully reached 11 titles for the ATP 250 and ATP 500 tours from the ATP World Tour. He has also reached the Semifinals in the year 2014 and 2016.
  • Australian Open – He has joined this tournament multiple times and has successfully reached the Quarterfinals in the season for 2012, 2015 and 2016.

Most Famous Rivalries

Kei Nishikori Vs. Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka used the be world’s third-best professional tennis players. He had won a total of 6 world titles and has an impressive 468-267 career record. Wawrinka is one of the personalities to beat with his great shots, accurate serves, and powerful backhands. Known in the tennis industry as the ‘Great Latecomer’ for blooming much later in his career in 2013 despite starting his career in 2002.

The two Tennis Superstars have bet about 8 times in both their careers with a tie of 4 to 4 wins on each side. The first time they met was in 2012 where Wawrinka took the trophy. However, Nishikori finally won against Wawrinka in the 2014 US Open. Their latest meeting was in 2017, where Nishikori took the title.

Nishikori Against Nadal

Rafael Nadal is a professional tennis player from Spain and is considered to be one of the greatest threats in the court. In his entire career, he has won a whopping 77 international titles. He used to be ranked as the best tennis player in the world in 2008 and currently ranks 2nd. Nadal has played against Nishikori multiple times but the most iconic was when he won his 27th master's title for the Madrid Open. However, during the 2016 Olympics, Nishikori successfully defeated him in the men’s singles division.

Nishikori and Ferrer

A Spanish professional tennis player, David Ferrer Ern is one of the most popular tennis players of all time. He has an impressive record of 724-362 wins and 27 career titles. He used to rank third in 2013 and currently places 38th in 2018. He started his career in 1999, eventually winning his first title in 2002 and still continues to play up until today. He is best known for his agility, foot speed, and determination. He is one of the few players who are actively successful on all kinds of surfaces like clay surfaced courts.

Both players have met a total of 14 times with the lead going to Nishikori at 10 to 4. His first win against Ferrer was in the 2008 US Open, the first time the two players met on the court as well. It was only during the Mexicano Telcel that Nishikori was finally defeated. Despite how good of a player Ferrer was, Nishikori was always successful in defeating the superstar.

Nishikori Meets Cilic

Marin Cilic from Croatia may be one of Nishikori’s biggest competitors. He has won 17 ATP singles titles and is currently ranked 3rd in the World’s Best Tennis Players. His best asset is known to be his serve with an impressive speed that can go as high as 250 kph. Cilic became a professional tennis player in 2005, eventually winning his first title four years later in the 2009 Grand Slam.

Cilic and Nishikori had a total of 14 rounds with an 8 to 6 score ratio while Nishikori is on the lead. They first met in 2008 where Cilic won the title. Their matches are always very exciting with one taking the lead on certain sets and the other successfully wins the final set.

Nishikori and Federer

Currently ranked the world’s best tennis player, Roger Federer is one of the most impressive tennis players in the world. He has won a total of 97 world titles and has a winning average of 82%. One of the most iconic matches between Nishikori and Federer was the ATP Finals in 2014. Federer with an impressive winning slate was defeated by the ATP World Finals debutant Kei Nishikori. Because of this loss, Federer missed the opportunity to be a part of the ATP Finals for that season.

Nishikori against Andy Murray

The two tennis masters have met multiple times including the Olympics, the USA Open, the ATP World Tour Finals and the French Open. However, the young Kei Nishikori has a 2 to 9 score disadvantage against the 45-year-old Murray for the ATP World Tour.

By Charlie Cowins from Belmont, NC, USA (kei n andy after practice) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Kei Nishikori and Djokovic

Novak Djokovic is one of the best bets in the International Tennis courts. A Serbian Professional Tennis player, he is currently ranked as the world’s 18th best tennis player. He has also won a total of 68 international titles and used to be the world’s best tennis player in 2011. Nishikori and Novak Djokovic have been in a total of 15 matches where Djokovic won about 13 matches.

Kei Nishikori Tournaments for 2018

Kei Nishikori Australian Open 2018

Although the 2018 Australian open might be one of the biggest tournaments of the year, Kei Nishikori will not be seen in the courts for the season. This is due to the fact that the Japanese ace player has withdrawn due to a terrible wrist injury. He has indicated in multiple interviews that his wrist has fully recovered but with the lack of training, he is currently unfit to give his all during the matches leading to his withdrawal for the season.

Kei Nishikori Injury

The famous Japanese tennis player was out for the last five months due to a terrible wrist injury missing the Australian Open and the ATP Grand Slam for the season. Based on reports, he suffered from a torn tendon on his right wrist. Due to this injury, he had missed the US Open, the Australian Open and the ATP Grand Slam tournament. However, he jumped right back to the tournaments January of 2018.

By Christopher Johnson [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Kei Nishikori Next Match

For the remainder of 2018, Kei Nishikori is expected to play for the ATP Men’s single division in Barcelona, Italy, and Monte Carlo. After recovering from a serious injury, he is pretty much set to make a comeback and place in the top 10 of the world’s best tennis players.