The hopes of Japanese tennis superstar Kei Nishikori to make history once more at Roland Garros came crashing down on Monday as he lost to Slovakian Martin Klizan in the first round of the French Open. He was the first Japanese male to reach the Grand Slam’s fourth round in 75 years last year, but this was not going to be the year to beat that record.
It seems that the World Number 10, the first ever Japanese to reach that ranking, has still not fully recovered from the back injury that forced him to retire from the finals match against Rafa Nadal in the Madrid Open just two weeks ago. He lost in straight sets 7-6 (4), 6-1, 6-2 to the 59th ranked Slovakian and has become the first casualty in the Top 10 in this notoriously tough tournament. While he was “really disappointed” with his performance, he said he was expecting something like this to happen since he hadn’t had much practice since he injured his lower left back a few weeks ago. “I was playing well on clay in Europe, so it’s very sad for me to lose first round here,” he added.
While he has achieved so much for Japanese tennis and himself personally during his career, he has suffered a few major setbacks due to various injuries, including surgery on his right elbow in 2009 and an abdominal injury that caused him to miss the 2012 French Open. But he says that is part and parcel of being a competitive tennis player. He believes he will face injury again in the future and so he must be “mentally ready” to deal with it and do his best to stay as healthy as possible.
[ via Asahi Shimbun ]
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