World No. 47 on the ATP Tour, Kei Nishikori explained how the young generation of players are slowly taking over the Tour and challenging the veterans toe-to-toe. The former World No. 4 who last played on the Tour at the 2021 Indian Wells Masters is currently taking a break before he returns to the Tour in 2022.
The 2014 US Open runner-up has plenty of experience on the Tour and has played the Big-3 on numerous occasions to understand their playing style completely. Now being on the side of the veterans, Nishikori is observing the youngsters and noted a few similarities between the playing styles.
Nishikori was recently in a conversation with Shingo Kunieda, a Japanese disabled tennis player and the two athletes discussed various topics revolving around the sport. Nishikori believes that the sudden rise has happened because of players trying to copy the playing style of World No. 1 and 20-time Grand Slam champion, Novak Djokovic.
“Following Djokovic, these days players tend to focus on probability, playing it safe by avoiding unforced errors, hitting cross shots on defence, like Medvedev and Zverev, the players who can execute these are absolutely dominant now,” said Nishikori explaining how the playing style is evolving.
“Alcaraz or Sinner are playing like Federer” says Kei Nishikori
With the likes of Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev following Novak, Nishikori believes that not all the youngsters are looking up to the Serbian. Teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz and young gun Jannik Sinner are more aggressive in their game and it reminds the former World No. 4 of Roger Federer.
“At the same time, players like Alcaraz or Sinner are coming, playing aggressive like Federer, there can’t be perfect tennis for everybody. It’s impossible to change my tennis (drastically), all I have to do is try to improve my weapons, like, play with quicker tempo than others,” added Nishikori.
This can be a good explanation to understand the playing styles of these players who in a few years’ time will be the ones leading the sport after the Big-3 have bid adieu to the game as all are now above 35 with Federer now 40 already and will be 41 in August this year when he is set to make yet another comeback.