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Nadal's day

36 Comments

Spain's Rafael Nadal, right, and Kei Nishikori of Japan pose with their trophies after the Barcelona Open in Barcelona on Sunday. Nadal won 6-4, 7-5. See story here.

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36 Comments
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So close, and yet so far.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

When you are #2 you always want to look like you are #1+. Even if you are not happy (by losing) -work on that smile and tell everyone that you were the real winner. Use that photo-op to your advantage.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Kei looks like he's tired of always finishing second.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

he probably would rather not get any trophy. looks weird with him holding up a plate next to that big thing Nadal is holding.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Oh well!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Well done Kei Nishikori. Do more better next time.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Nadal dug a lot of holes for himself, and faced far too many break points. He's improving all the time, but there's still work to be done. Roland Garros is getting more and more interesting. The fact that he was able to get himself out of trouble shows that he is getting closer and closer to his former self. And the fact that Nishikori was not able to take advantage of most of all the gifts thrown at him shows that he is not in the same league as the big ones.

Well done, Rafa. Do even better next time.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Cup and saucer.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Well done Nadal, it looks like he will go to Roland Garros ready to add to his amazing tally. Tough luck to young Kei - but he would have to be a dark horse for the French now. Lets hope a title is just around the corner for the kid - once he nabs one he could dominate tennis for a decade!

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

once he nabs one he could dominate tennis for a decade! LOL sorry not trying to be mean but Kei just doesnt have the game to beat the top 3~4 guys, it wont be until Nadal/Federer retire before hell have any chance of winning a major. being a shorter guy he needs that extra speed to counter the more powerful players, he still doesnt have the mental game either and it shows everytime he takes on the Yokozunas, hes an Ozeki of the tennis world.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Coming second to Nadal is no mean feat; Nishikori should be very pleased with himself, he has plenty of years left to try again.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Well, that explains why I hadn't heard anything about tennis this morning or afternoon until I checked on here. Not a huge surprise, though. While Nishikori is doing well, he just doesn't have the ability to beat or be one of the truly greats. Maybe in the future... but then, if it takes all the others retiring for Kei to become one that's not saying much either.

Glad to see Nadal's returning to form. After the big win the other day this proves it wasn't just a fluke.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Kei just doesnt have the game to beat the top 3~4 guys

How do you reconcile that assertion with the fact that he has beaten all of the top 3~4 guys?

Kei may not beat these guys all the time, or even half of the time, but he certainly will beat them from time to time!

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Kei may not beat these guys all the time, or even half of the time, but he certainly will beat them from time to time! unfortunaelty beating them from time to time wont make him a top player and certainly not a multiple major winner, you need to win at least two majors (second means first wasnt a fluke) to be considered a great player. sorry but I just dont see Kei doing that anytime soon.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Win or lose - you should have class and smile. That's good sportsmanship.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Again Nishikori makes a final and his opponent wins, and all the haters suddenly rush out of the woodwork to bash him. Such class!

he just doesn't have the ability to beat or be one of the truly greats.

Except in reality, he has beaten all of the active greats, which includes some of the all-time greats... despite in your estimation not having the ability to do so...

That's quite a miraculous amount of flukey luck he has had!

unfortunaelty beating them from time to time wont make him a top player

Currently cemented at 6th in the world rankings makes him a top player if you ask me, but I guess you think he has to be 5th like Nadal to be a "top player". Huge difference there - one ranking. I guess your arbitrary drawing of the line below 5th and above 6th is correct though, since it's your opinion.

sorry but I just dont see Kei doing that anytime soon.

You don't have to apologize for thinking what you think.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

That's quite a miraculous amount of flukey luck he has had! what winning second tier tournamanets, 6th in the world and hasnt won a major (one of the big four opens) where as the top 4~5 players have won over 40 between them, you can see the pattern cant you!? like Ive said a great player is meausured by how many majors hes won, the rest are just good players or Ozeki as i like to call them

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

No, his "flukey luck" I was referring to was his beating all of the top players. But the rest of your comment clears it up. Your issue is NOT that he can't and hasn't beaten all the top players (despite your writing that he "just doesnt have the game to beat the top 3~4 guys", perhaps due to a temporary malfunction somewhere).

Your complaint is that he isn't an all-time great, like Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. A different set of goal posts, but yes that's a fair assessment. (Why you feel so obliged to point that out I'm not sure - want to explain?)

As far as I can see, he is one wrung down the ladder from Nadal, and a couple of years or more younger and less experienced than those above him, which includes some of the all-time greats. I'm personally not presuming that he has no potential to win big tournaments, just because of what he hasn't yet achieved, playing in the same era as such accomplished senior players.

The "good news" (unless ones loves to bash Nishikori as some here do!) is that he has experienced another final against one of the all-time greats, and that experience can only put him in good stead to increase his chances next time around.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Win or lose - you should have class and smile. That's good sportsmanship.

Maybe he was just resting between smiles when the picture was taken?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

work on that smile

Looks like both of these men could work on their smile. Nadal's looks very forced and a half-smile at that.

While Nishikori is doing well, he just doesn't have the ability to beat or be one of the truly greats.

sorry not trying to be mean but Kei just doesnt have the game to beat the top 3~4 guys,

Uh, FYI he has beaten the likes of Federer, Cilic, Raonic, Ferrer and Djokovic in the past. If those players aren't "great' like you say, then I don't know who is. Just because he didn't beat Nadal this time, doesn't mean Nishikori isn't great. He just came to face a player who played a greater game than him this time. Who knows, he could beat him the next time. If Nadal had lost, would you be making the same comment about Nadal? Oh, and Nishikori has won this Barcelona tournament twice in the past. Look it up.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

and all the haters suddenly rush out of the woodwork to bash him. Such class! actually I dont hate Kei I actually like the guy. what I do dislike (and Kei probably dislikes also ) is the J fans & media that reach fever pitch as he progress through tournaments and when he falls short you can hear a pin drop. they continually to over hype him as a player, does he have the talent to be a great player, possibly. will his best be enough to beat the top guys, possibly, lets face it he`ll need to defeat them at least 50% for him to get a major win. being consistant like Federer in his prime and Djokovic now will get him there but up till now he shows moments of brillance and then moments of mediocre when facing the top guys. But then again the Federer Djokovic Nadal can make any player look mediocre.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The only time I hear about this purported over-hyping him is when I read the comments here from the likes of you and smithinjapan. (If you are seeing something in the J-media you don't like, I suggest you don't watch it! If you are actually watching his matches at all, then flip the audio to the secondary channel to avoid the Japanese commentary!)

It's not like winning a tournament would be a new thing for Nishikori, since he's won 11 already. Wawrinka's much older and won 13, so at the end of his career Nishikori will probably end up somewhere between him and the "big four". How close remains to be seen.

lets face it he`ll need to defeat them at least 50% for him to get a major win.

He's already done enough in terms of beating the top guys to have had his chances. If he had won a particular match against Cilic (against who he has a 70% win record) he'd have already bagged a Major win. If he hadn't retired hurt after leading Nadal at Madrid a few years back he'd have had a ATP 1000 win.

There simply isn't a lot that needs to change for him to get the victories that you are so demanding of. But he's not going to rack up 30 or 40 tournament wins overnight - there's only so many tournaments a season.

but up till now he shows moments of brillance and then moments of mediocre when facing the top guys.

IMO that's a matter of experience and growing into his rank as a top player. It was easier in 2014 when he wasn't ranked as high to just play his game with nothing to lose, and he knocked over Wawrinka and Djokovic before falling to Cilic. But now he knows he's up there and with that comes more pressure. Experience can resolve it.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

lets face it he`ll need to defeat them at least 50% for him to get a major win. being consistant like Federer in his prime and Djokovic now will get him there but up till now he shows moments of brillance and then moments of mediocre when facing the top guys.

You contradicted yourself in this statement. Showing moments of brilliance and moments of mediocre is the same as beating the best players at least 50%. After all, he has a winning record against top players like Raonic, Cilic, and Ferrer. And Kei Nishikori is the 6th ranked player in the world, and he has won this Barcelona Open twice in the past. You simply don't get there and do that by simply being 'mediocre' against the top players.

J fans & media that reach fever pitch as he progress through tournaments and when he falls short you can hear a pin drop.

Yes, J fans do that. But by the same token, there are fair-weathered fans everywhere. We often call them 'bandwagoners'. It happens a lot in the U.S. We only realize the Japanese fans doing it because we live here and get exposed to it. When I was living in the U.S., I encountered it a lot when it involved sports like soccer (not popular viewing in the U.S unless the national team is winning).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Being better than 5,999, 999, 999 billion people will never be satisfying enough. The Michael Chang-s of the world have to learn to live with it. Nishikori too, perhaps. Being luckier or more talented than most people who have ever lived is nice. But it doesn't make up for not being able to close the last gap! Oh what irony is life!!!!!!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

He's already done enough in terms of beating the top guys to have had his chances. any Ozeki can beat a Yokozuna, its just the Ozeki that consistantly beat the Yokozuna that get promoted. At this stage Kei hasnt proven he can beat the top guys "WHEN IT COUNTS" yes it great that he can get some tournament wins under his belt but if you ask Kei or any other player they all dream of getting that major. (there are only four) he came close once but since then he hasnt performed as the J public are dreaming him of doing. As hard as it sounds I actually hope he can get a major win, itll silence a lot of his critics and elevate him to the selct few that have done. and most importantly people around the world will remember him as a great of tennis, instead of a good player that just fell short of greatness

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

fxgai:

If you are seeing something in the J-media you don't like, I suggest you don't watch it!

I have no idea whether Japanese TV was showing the match, but I watched it on the net with English commentary. And thank god, no biased reporting. Credit given to both players whenever due and no obvious disappointment in the commentators' voices when Nishikori loses. Nothing against the Japanese athletes, but I'd rather watch them on a foreign channel.

And as others have said, you have to beat the top players consistently, and not just when they're in the doldrums. Fognini was beating Nadal last year left right and centre - I would hardly call Fognini one of the top players on the tour. And yes, Nishikori did pull out before due to injury. But there's a lot of what if's. Hell, what if Nadal didn't get injured or need surgery for appendicitis? Yeah, what if? Sorry, it's a cruel world - you don't get any ATP points for being injured.

burakumindes:

Lets hope a title is just around the corner for the kid - once he nabs one he could dominate tennis for a decade!

Oh puleeeez! A decade?! Are you serious? Even Federer is past his peak. Nishokori is now 26, not 16. He may or may not go on to better things but a decade, really???!!!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I think Nishikori could stay in the top 10. It will be hard for him to crack the top 5 for any length of time. It's a tough business. Winning one slam would be great for him. It probably depends on the health of the top five.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

but I watched it on the net with English commentary. And thank god, no biased reporting.

So true, but I would have to respond with an "of course". In any country, it's much better to watch the foreign commentary of a game or match. When watching a game between a Japanese and American athlete, watch the commentary from a Brit. If it's a match between a Brit and an American, watch the Japanese commentary of it. For example, when it comes to figure skating commentary in the U.S., only Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski are pretty good at it; others are terrible and sometimes quite biased by saying 'those scores are too low" often times for American skaters.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

fxgai: "How do you reconcile that assertion with the fact that he has beaten all of the top 3~4 guys?"

What's his record against the big guys? Why is he not also called a big guy?

"Again Nishikori makes a final and his opponent wins, and all the haters suddenly rush out of the woodwork to bash him. Such class!"

Actually, no one's hating him at all; but you sure do rush on here on call everyone haters when Nishikori loses. "Hater" is just an excuse-term used by people who can't handle the facts and don't like the opinions of those who don't agree with them. Same with 'basher'. People are talking about how he is overhyped, often by people like yourself.

"The only time I hear about this purported over-hyping him is when I read the comments here from the likes of you and smithinjapan."

I find it amusing that you say "the only time you hear this" and then follow it with a long-winded "if you don't like it (the over-hyping, in other words!), don't watch/change the audio". You know full well that they over-hype it, and your comment proves it.

"If he hadn't retired hurt after leading Nadal at Madrid a few years back he'd have had a ATP 1000 win."

THIS is the thing that we hate, though -- the excuses like "he was tired this time", or "he was injured", or the always popular, "The other players was too tall!" And how do you know for a fact he would have won even if not injured? I never see you say, "Well, he only won because the other guy was injured" when his opponent drops out. Too bad you can't bet your tennis pride on that hypothetical, eh?

wtfJapan: "He's already done enough in terms of beating the top guys to have had his chances. any Ozeki can beat a Yokozuna, its just the Ozeki that consistantly beat the Yokozuna that get promoted. At this stage Kei hasnt proven he can beat the top guys "WHEN IT COUNTS" yes it great that he can get some tournament wins under his belt but if you ask Kei or any other player they all dream of getting that major. (there are only four) he came close once but since then he hasnt performed as the J public are dreaming him of doing."

Bingo! And I also hope he wins some day, too, and even that he can be a consistent winner and not just by fluke or an opponent's injury; it would just be a nightmare to listen to the media and the bandwagon fans. As I said, pure silence this morning on the topic of tennis, but somehow that is "hating" and "bashing" in some people's books because they don't like the result and you remind them of it.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Asian sportsmen(-women) are hard to get the first title,and to keep that position longer. Its...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And I also hope he wins some day, too

Kei Nishikori has won the Barcelona Open twice. Please do your homework before commenting.

What's his record against the big guys?

It's actually good against guys like Raonic, Ferrer and Cilic. Not so good against Nadal and Djokovic, but he has beaten them before. Kei is also ranked 6th, so I'm pretty sure you can call him a big guy. Heck, if you can make it to the top ten, that's pretty good in my book.

it would just be a nightmare to listen to the media and the bandwagon fans.

Exactly. Bandwagon fans IN EVERY COUNTRY OF THE WORLD are terrible. For example, the U.S. men's soccer team sucked for a long time, and then suddenly they got good and Americans started watching soccer more all of a sudden. Go figure. Then there are those Canadians who swoon over Brian Orser during the 1980's and then the down time after until Elvis Stojko, and then nothing, until Patrick Chan came along, and now it seems very little following from them of the men's figure skating. I even hear them saying that Yuzuru Hanyu is only good because of Brian Orser's coaching, just so that they can take some credit for his championship trophies. Sheesh!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

peterl: "For example, the U.S. men's soccer team sucked for a long time, and then suddenly they got good and Americans started watching soccer more all of a sudden. Go figure."

There's a difference between something growing in popularity as a result of a team doing well and bandwagon fans. You think Japan loved soccer before kids started ALL sporting Beckham cuts in 2002? Not very much, but so many did after that people were commenting on how soccer was taking over the parks where kids used to play baseball. That's died down somewhat, but soccer still enjoys growing support. With bandwagon fans, though, they are literally fans of something they previously were indifferent towards or have said they did not like THE NEXT DAY after someone starts getting hyped in the media here, and then literally turn off the television if that person looks like he or she is going to lose.

Bad example with Orser and skating as well. Yuzuru is good because Yuzuru is good, but Orser DOES deserve some of the credit; if you need any more proof look at Kim Yu-Na, who also got gold, and not the Spanish guy, who is ranking first or second each time out. He deserves credit for some of their performances as well.

In any case, even bandwagon fans in other nations still talk about something when the person or team they suddenly liked loses out, even if it's to say they don't like the person again. Not here. Where is Ishikawa Ryo, for example? Because I know people who suddenly LOVED golf and loved Ishikawa, and watched it in between Billy's Bootcamp workouts and tomato diet drinks who now have a big question mark on their faces when you say the name and they are working on whatever diet of the week it is.

wtfJapan says it well, and I agree with him 100%: "actually I dont hate Kei I actually like the guy. what I do dislike (and Kei probably dislikes also ) is the J fans & media that reach fever pitch as he progress through tournaments and when he falls short you can hear a pin drop."

There's a good reason, and to his credit, Kei has chosen to live in Florida and not live and train in Japan, and he gets some kudos for knowing what the media here is and for not selling out too much yet.

But no, Nishikori isn't really one of the big guns, nor will he ever be until he can consistently get MAJOR wins, not just a tournament that no one big is in. For what they media makes him out to be, he should have already won every tournament 10 times over.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

He should smile a bit more. Cheer up dude, you're still young. There's plenty of other opportunities ahead to be number one.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

wtfjapan,

At this stage Kei hasnt proven he can beat the top guys "WHEN IT COUNTS"

First "he can't beat them", now "he can't beat them when it counts".

Your hang up appears to stem from your perceptions of the "J public" rather than any assessment of his ability, as evidenced by the goalpost shifting after being presented with facts.

As hard as it sounds I actually hope he can get a major win, itll silence a lot of his critics

Except for people such as yourself and smithinjapan, who exactly are his critics?

Pukey2,

If you watch the matches on NHK or NHK BS you can flip to the sub-audio channel and enjoy either the sound of the stadium with no commentary whatsoever, or English commentary if available.

The final on Sunday was on another channel with Shuzo Matsuoka commentating, no English. But Shuzo knows more about tennis and Nadal and Nishikori than me so I was OK with it.

I mean no disrespect to Fognini, but lots of people were beating Nadal recently, and Fognini is ranked 30th in the world with 3 career titles, versus younger Nishikori's 6th ranking and 11 career titles. Obviously Nishikori is not one of the "big four", but he's beyond Fognini.

you don't get any ATP points for being injured.

Sure, but the key point is that it's nonsense for people to suggest that Nishikori can't beat the top guys, because he has. All of them.

smithinjapan,

People are talking about how he is overhyped, often by people like yourself.

That he is ranked 6th in the world is not overhyping him, that is a cold hard fact. Does that fact upset you?

THIS is the thing that we hate, though -- the excuses

A reality check is not an excuse. It's not me who is claiming that he "can't" beat the top guys despite the fact that he has, and that he "can't" win a Slam or ATP 1000 tournament, because he obviously can.

Here you go - "Kei Nishikori injury lets Rafael Nadal off the hook in Madrid Open" (http://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/27368033). That's the take away of any non-biased (non-hater) observer. Does that upset you? Or do you think the BBC is part of the "bandwagon"?

I also hope he wins some day, too and even that he can be a consistent winner and not just by fluke or an opponent's injury;

There you go again... When he wins (which he has, 11 times) then that's going to be because it was a fluke or you'll come up with some other excuse. Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Smithinjapan:

Bad example with Orser and skating as well. Yuzuru is good because Yuzuru is good, but Orser DOES deserve some of the credit;

Yes, he deserves some credit, but a lot of Canadians are shouting that he deserves ALL of it. That to me, is not right.

Where is Ishikawa Ryo, for example?

Saw him on TV playing in the Sony Open in Hawaii, just recently ( in February of this year, I think). Also, he appeared on a few commercials recently sporting shorter straighter hair (not his usual long, wavy look). See a lot of fans (many older obasan types) fawning after him at appearances on TV. While he may not be in the news as often after getting married, he still does tournaments and appearances and has tons of fans.

Bottom line is, celebrities' popularity always wane at some point. It's a fact of life. While Ishikawa's has waned, he hasn't disappeared.

In any case, even bandwagon fans in other nations still talk about something when the person or team they suddenly liked loses out, even if it's to say they don't like the person again

Wrong. There are so many bandwagon fans in other countries that switch their loyalties to both individual athletes and teams off and on all the time. A lot of people tend to like the favorites and then dump them or stop following them when they're not so good anymore. Yes, there are diehard fans all around the world, just like in Japan. You just think it only happens in Japan because it's where you're based in now.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted the wrong link, it was a UK guardian story not the BBC: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/may/11/kei-nishikori-injury-rafael-nadal-madrid-open-final

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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