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Max Mirnyi joins Kei Nishikori's coaching team

02 Dec 2019, 17:38 IST

Kei Nishikori has struggled with injures over the past couple of years
Kei Nishikori has struggled with injures over the past couple of years

What's the story?

Kei Nishikori, Japan's number one men's player, has added former Grand Slam champion Max Mirnyi to his coaching team for the upcoming 2020 ATP tennis season.

The Japanese tennis star posted a picture of his new coach on his Instagram account to let his fans know of the new development.

In case you didn't know...

The tennis world was really excited when Nishikori first burst onto the scene more than a decade ago. Whilst not the biggest or strongest player on tour, his tactical and technical prowess brought him a healthy fan following both in Japan and elsewhere.

His early years saw him defeat the likes of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer at various stages. These successes saw the Japanese tennis player climb to world number 4 in 2015, and it looked as though he was on the verge of something big.

Kei Nishikori after defeated Roger Federer in Miami
Kei Nishikori after defeated Roger Federer in Miami

That didn't quite happen, however, as Nishikori has struggled with injuries in recent years. In 2019, for the third year running, he finished outside of the top 10.

Although Nishikori has never won a Grand Slam, he did come close in 2014 when he defeated Djokovic in the US Open semifinals - only to lose to Marin Cilic in the next round. He has been fairly consistent over the last couple of years at the Majors though, reaching five consecutive quarterfinals (or better) from Wimbledon 2018 to Wimbledon 2019.

The heart of the matter

In response to his recent challenges, it appears that Nishikori has brought in Max Mirnyi to add an extra dimension to his game.

Given that Mirnyi is a former World No. 1 player in doubles and a multiple Grand Slam champion, the Belarusian can provide Nishikori the insights of a player who has gone all the way in the biggest tournaments.

Max Mirnyi
Max Mirnyi

Secondly, as a doubles specialist, Mirnyi will help improve Nishikori's net-play immensely. Nishikori is already a capable baseline player, but his volleying is not a strong part of his game; Mirnyi can aid in improving that and making the Japanese player an all-round threat.

What's next?

Nishikori will begin his 2020 season hoping to make a breakthrough at the year's first Slam, where he has reached multiple quarterfinals in the past.

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