Kei Nishikori has set his sights high for the upcoming season after bouncing back from a career-threatening wrist injury.
The last year produced plenty of ups and downs for the Japanese player as he was a consistent top 10 player at the start of 2017, but he picked up a serious wrist injury in the middle of the year and was forced to miss the US Open.
“I was scared. The wrist is needed in tennis. I just kept thinking I would always have to play with this feeling of anxiety,” he told Kyodo News.
“I went without surgery but I was told there was a possibility that it might happen again. I kept playing with my major goal being a return (to the top of the rankings). I had a feeling throughout this season that I was climbing a staircase, one step at a time.”
He missed five months and made his return in the ATP Challenger Series before stepping up to the ATP Tour.
It was a wise move as he made steady progress, reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and then the semi-finals of the US Open, which played a part in his qualification for the year-end ATP Finals.
“I was able to bring the level of my tennis up to 100 percent in the second half (of the season),” he said.
“I played without pressure this year. I was able to take a full swing at tennis, but I know I need to aim higher next year.”
But of course the 2014 US Open runner-up hopes to fry bigger fish next year.
He added: “I want to gun for my best, as I always have, and win a Grand Slam title or a Masters title. That is my goal.”
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