World No. 4 Kei Nishikori became the fifth singles player to confirm his berth at the ATP World Tour Finals on Wednesday. This is the third consecutive year that the Japanese star has qualified for the prestigious season-ending meet.
The 26-year-old thus joins Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic as the only singles players to have qualified so far for this event. Three more slots are up for grabs with Gael Monfils, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem right behind them.
Nishikori reached semi-finals on debut
Nishikori made an impressive debut in 2014 where he went on to beat Andy Murray and David Ferrer en route to reaching the semi-finals. Even in the last-four stage, he managed to take a set off the eventual winner Novak Djokovic.
Last year, he sealed his place among the world’s elite once more. Even though he could not repeat his run to the semi-finals, he still did notch up a win over Tomas Berdych apart from stretching Roger Federer to three sets in the round-robin stage.
Reached two Masters finals
The qualification is a reward for the Japanese player’s consistency throughout the year that saw him win the Memphis Open and grab a bronze medal in men’s singles at the Rio Olympics. Besides, his performances at the ATP Masters have been impressive and he reached the finals of the Miami Open and the Rogers Cup, losing to Djokovic in both.
At the US Open, he had a huge five-set win over the reigning Wimbledon and Olympic champion Murray in the quarter-finals. The 2014 US Open runner-up, himself too admitted that it has been a very consistent year for him and that he is excited to be back among the very best.
“I am very excited to come back to London this year,” said Nishikori. “It’s been a very consistent year so far and I am excited to be part of this elite group again. Last year the atmosphere in London was incredible and I look forward to seeing a lot of Japanese support in the crowd again this year.”
Nishikori is currently recuperating after injuring his left gluteal muscles that forced him to retire from his second round match at the Japan Open last week. He has been advised 10 days of rest by his doctor that prompted him to pull out of the ongoing Shanghai Masters this week. It is expected that he will be back at the Swiss Indoors in Basel, beginning October 24.