‘I’m still not feeling 100% tennis-wise but I enjoyed it,’ says Kei Nishikori after first win in a year

Kei Nishikori in action

Kei Nishikori returned to winning ways at the Italian Open, beating Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the first round to secure his first win since the 2019 US Open.

The former world No 4 has endured an injury disrupted year as he underwent elbow surgery in October and, after several setbacks, he was due to make his return at Flushing Meadows this year.

However, he tested positive for coronavirus on the eve of the US Open and was forced to withdraw from the hard-court Grand Slam.

He eventually made his comeback on the Kitzbuehel clay in Austria last week, but lost in the opening round.

On Monday he got a win under his belt as he beat the Spaniard 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) to set up a possible second-round clash against either Stan Wawrinka or Italian qualifier Lorenzo Musetti.

“I was very pleased to be on the court today, first win on the Tour,” the 2014 US Open runner-up said.

“I’m still not feeling 100% tennis-wise but I enjoyed it. Now it’s important to have as many matches as I can, keep winning. I need to start getting into a good tempo, good rhythm.”

He added: “Today was much better than last week, maybe twice better. I think at some moments I still don’t have confidence … but little by little I’m getting better. If I can have many more matches before French Open, it will be good.”

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