On the day that Nick Bollettieri declared that Kei Nishikori had the ability to beat anyone in the world, the 23-year-old also signalled his intention to reach a Grand Slam semi-final by the end of the year and break into the top ten.
Nishikori, who last year became the first Japanese man in the Open era to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, outlined his desire during his pre-Championship press conference on Saturday.
“To get to a quarter-final or semi-final, that's next goal, [it’s] something I have never done before,” he said.
With a No.11 world ranking, Nishikori has been knocking on the door of the top 10 for a while yet he admits he still has his work cut out if he’s to break through the exclusive barrier. “[It’s] something [I’m] trying to do it this year. I'm getting close, but I feel...I have a lot of things to work on more. I feel [it’s] still a long way to be top 10 but yeah, [it’s] something I'm trying to work on.”
The right-hander moved to Florida at the age of 14 to train at the Bollettieri Academy. He was named ATP newcomer of the year in 2008 and has since collected three singles titles – the most recent being Memphis back in February.
Nishikori, who is seeded No.12 in the Men’s Singles and last year reached the third round here, warmed up for Wimbledon with outings in Halle and an exhibition match at the Hurlingham Club, London where he lost to Rafael Nadal 6-7 (3), 6-7 (4).
“I played couple matches yesterday and day before, you know, against Murray and Nadal,” he added. “I think it was good preparation for next week.”
Nishikori faces Australian wild card Matthew Ebden in the opening round.