Kei Nishikori was Mr Consistent when he was on. With a run at majors unlike a lot of what we saw for a while with the younger players (although not the case now), Kei Nishikori was one of those players who you’d see, without fail, in the quarter- finals of majors
But ever since coronavirus hit, injury and the covid pause in 2020 has meant Kei has not been able to reach the lofty heights we all took for granted during his best years. He is part of a crop of players- including Marin Cilic, who dominated slams but fell short to “the big 4” in slam quarterfinals time and time again.
For instance, the 2015 US Open quarterfinals, where Cilic was taken down by Novak Djokovic in a brutal beatdown, 6-0 6-1 6-2. Or take for instance the 2010 Australian Open semifinals, where Andy Murray stopped Cilic from making a major final.
2 years later at the same major, Murray stopped Nishikori in the quarter-finals of the 2012 Australian Open But it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Who can forget that hallowed Ol;Olympics run in 2016, where he defeated Nadal en-route to an Olympic bronze title.
Another player, Milos Raonic,. was of the same ilk. In the 2015 Australian Open quarterfinals, he was dismantled by Novak Djokovic in 3 sets. The following year, he was beaten in 5 by Andy Murray. The year after that? Raonic was comprehensively dismantled by Rafael Nadal.
However, in terms of Nishikori, what he achieved can only be described as unbelievable.. In 2018, he started the season injured. At the beginning quarter of the year , he was playing Challengers. However by year’s end, he was playing in the Nitto ATP finals. Such a result was off the back off grit, which propelled him to a historic run of 5 straight major quarter finals. His results?
2018 Wimbledon quarterfinals, 2018 US Open quarterfinals, 2019 Australian Open quarterfinals, 2019 French Open quarterfinals, 2019 Wimbledon quarterfinals.
It was an extraordinary stretch of play, and you will be hard pressed to find any next-gen player who has made 5 straight major quarterfinals.
It’s this reason why tennis needs him back- and quick.