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Despite loss, Japanese fans proud of Nishikori

32 Comments
By JIM ARMSTRONG

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32 Comments
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And darn right! He fought Cilic, he fought his body, and he carried the hope of a nation. He was amazing from the first serve to the last press conference.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Not just Japanesefans, or people in Matue, but all fans of Nishikori should be proud despite the upset.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Justine Henin (1.68 m, 7 titles in the last decade) and Andre Agassi (1.81 m, 5 titles since Wimbledon 1995 and 8 in all), and of course Mr Chang. Also, too tall? If anything Cilic was, at 1.98m. Using that ol' 'height' card, that 'them' and 'us' rubbish burns all sense and reason, it's a real dumb line of argument. Although 1.85m does seem to be the magic number.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Today I want to introduce you to a new idiom which you can use quite often with Japanese pro athletes. "Flash in the Pan"

There's no need to get excited or to put the champagne - excuse me - Sake on ice.

-11 ( +6 / -17 )

It's not like he was out in the first round, lighten up...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why some of you got to hate! Just appreciate a heck of a run.... yeah you.. FPSRussia

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Now everyone can get back to not pretending they cared about tennis.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

The fans in the photo so look like "Ahhhh, yabai...."

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Stewart Suzuki

You seem mad? You mad bro? My comments were spot on. Flash in the pan. That's exactly what happened. Give the public just enough to get excited and go shopping. Uniqlo ready to have a big sale. Buy anything Nishikori!! I've got to have that Uniqlo shirt he was wearing. NOT!!

Nobody was interested in Nishikori a few days ago. They were too busy watching the Men National Soccer team get spanked in Sapporo.

Why is it when a Japanese athlete starts to win that suddenly he / she belongs to Japan?

Please don't act like you know me. I'm neutral when it comes to tennis. I don't even play the sport. Didn't matter to me who won

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

“As a Japanese, he is smaller than many other western rivals and that alone is a major obstacle,” said 67-year-old business consultant Masatoshi Hinoshita

Fans like this should stop trying to be helpful. I think it is rather insulting to a world-class athlete to make such petty excuses. He is a strong player, who made it to the finals and lost to another strong player. Games are exciting to people because anything can happen. Heck, that's why gambling exists.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The Croatian destroyed his opponent in the Q/Finals in three quick sets! 1 hr +. Then pulverised Federer in three quick sets 1 hr +. Nikkori took 4 hrs + to destroy Djokovich. And lots more before that! He had "lost" the final match before starting the final challenge again a new champion who was fresh, had awesome shots and who made no errors in the semi and final games! Nikkori stood no chance! When the result came, I was the winner. The media missed the point!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Justbcuzisay: agreed. The excuses never help. Last week I heard this, "Nishikori is smaller", leading up to the semis, setting up a reason for why he might lose if he lost. The excuses only suggest a player lost because of perceived handicaps and do not point out the strengths of the loser, and certainly not the winner. Do you hear the same excuses when Nishikori wins? Not at all.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Well, truth be told , physical size can be both an advantage and handicap. That's one of the reasons Japan (or any other Asian country) will never seriously be a contender for the World Cup. To say body size and strength is not a relevant factor in one's (or a team's) ability to dominate a sport is just plain denial.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The "smaller" argument is overused by Japanese for all sports ... I cannot tell about the other sports but in tennis, as mentioned above, there are many talented players "smaller" than Nishikori. I feel that Japanese need an excuse for his defeat, and that excuse is a "shoganai" excuse as usual. "It's not his fault, Japanese are small, we cannot help ..."

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Physical stature may seem to be a disadvantage but look at some of the Japanese swimmers such as Kitajima and Hagino who have done well in Olympic and World Championships. Kitajima dominated for several years and he was smaller than his rivals.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

viennasausage: "That's one of the reasons Japan (or any other Asian country) will never seriously be a contender for the World Cup. To say body size and strength is not a relevant factor in one's (or a team's) ability to dominate a sport is just plain denial."

I'd say it's not a case of denial, but a case of convenience of excuse. Height in tennis ONLY gives you an advantage if you've perfected a certain style -- and which can be overcome if someone who is shorter has perfected theirs (or at least it's anyone's game). If worked on efficiently, a taller person may have an advantage in serving if their aim is near perfect, but a smaller person would be better when it came to volleys as the taller person might be clumsy. Look at Nadal -- not nearly as tall as Cilic and Co., but still pretty much always beats them. Basketball? I can see it for sure. Volleyball as well, and even soccer to an extent, but the fact remains, and as others point to, saying, "Well, he IS smaller, so even though he was the bravest guy in the world for going up against these obviously advantaged people while he was handicapped shows the samurai spirit." In other words, he didn't lose because the other player played better, he lost because he was disavantaged. But of course, in the other games the other players did not lose because of any disadvantage, it was because of Nishikori's amazing skills. Do you see how that neither helps Nishikori nor any of his opponents? let alone such excuses being poor sport apologies that reduce the level of the sport as a whole, and allow people to truly be in denial.

In any case, the excuses are lame, and there is no need for them save for the bandwagon fans to try and justify why Nishikori lost the game. Both players did an amazing job, and no excuses are necessary, so why bother reducing Nishikori and Cilic's ability to height difference?

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Haters will hate, cynics will be cynical, and naysayers will . . . the only thing worse than all that is the "I told you so" coming from the same person after the fact ! Anyway, "Otsukaresama, Kei-san ! We love you and know you will hit the courts, practice, and be back in a Final of a Grand Slam, . . . and win it !

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Sorry that Nishikori lost, but in so many ways he won. He was not expected to go to the finals. But the biggest winner was Wow Wow as they had airing rights to the match and sold a record number of subscriptions. I just wonder what that number was.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

kurobune: So true. Why can't some posters on this thread just congratulate these two competitors. Why do some people use it as a way to bring up a bunch of red herrings and make up stories like people making excuses that Nishikori whined his height played a factor. All I've heard from Nishikori is praise for his opponent. In fact, I've even seen many interviews from those in his town of Matsue that they were disappointed and proud that he got this far. Not one mentioned any excuses like height. Even commentators like Aya Sugiyama and Shuzo Matsuoka never said anything like that. Only some haters on this thread would say, "I heard 'someone' the other day say ..." So convenient.

Anyway, congratulations to these two competitors, Cilic and Nishikori. Great job!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The Croatian destroyed his opponent in the Q/Finals in three quick sets! 1 hr +. Then pulverised Federer in three quick sets 1 hr +. Nikkori took 4 hrs + to destroy Djokovich.

So what? I consider 4 hours to beat Djokovich a much bigger feat than taking 1 hour to beat Federer

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Well played to both these guys! Awesome tournament for them both. Cant wait for the Aussie open now! As for the physical/height thing, I am certain it is a non-issue with Mr.Nishikori, sportsmen like him never make excuses. Agassi was the same height as Kei-san (1cm difference) - and went on to win 8 Majors against some huge guys! Not saying he is in the same class, but Kei is gonna nab a Major in the near future!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Hey,still a fantastic achievement to get so far and a rising star in world tennis !!! Well done Kei, Japan must be very proud of you !

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Only some haters on this thread would say, "I heard 'someone' the other day say ..." So convenient.

Errr... did you read the article before you commented on it?

make up stories like people making excuses that Nishikori whined his height played a factor

Nobody said that. People are reacting to the people in the story quoted as saying that.

Anyways, great to see him get so far. Hope for good things in the future - but hope the media don't put too much pressure on him from now.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Nishikori Kei has every right to be proud despite the loss. He became the first Asian man since Micheal Chang to make it to the finals of a Grand Slam tournament. I hope he inspires more Asian men to try harder to get there (just like Li Na inspires Asian women) and we don't have to wait so long for another Asian man to make it that far. Also, I'm sure Kei will be less nervous being in a Grand Slam final, now that he has already experienced it. Good luck to you Kei, and as many Japanese commentators have said, and I quote, "He is only 24 years old and will have many more chances to compete in a Grand Slam, so good luck to him in the future."

As for the height thing that some posters seem to be whining about, FYI it's not only mentioned in this article and by the Japanese, but in every foreign news article like the Associated Press, New York Times, etc. that mentions it. It was even mentioned by the commentators on the official U.S. Open website as that was the only way I could follow it in English.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Michael Chang was like 5'6 or something and he was THE most consistent player in tennis. He was a top 10 player for most of his career all while many #1 players rose and sank. It's a matter of infrastructure and investment in youth development the same as any other sport.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It wasn't a height problem...I wish people would stop making a big deal of it. Sure, Kei-san is 5'10", but it's not like he's 5'6" where his service trajectory or reach might become a real problem. Nishikori actually has a winning lifetime record against Cilic. He also took down Raonic who, I think is 6'5". I've seen him beat Ivo Karlovic, who's 6'10". In tennis, I think there's a point where height becomes a disadvantage. That's why you see don't see guys like Karlovic or Isner make it to the semis or finals of a big tourney. Footwork and foot speed are so critical in tennis and it seems like when the guys get to be the height of a basketball forward/center, they tend to lack the adroitness that you need. But these tall guys sure can serve! That serves come at a steep angle and if they kick the serve, that ball will have serious hops. I've seen Cilic play, and last night I think he just played out of his mind--everything was clicking for him--his serves, his groundies, everything. Nishikori looked a step slow on the court. His shot-making was nowhere near where it was when he played Nola or Wawrinka, and his first serve percentage didn't seem very good (not sure what the stats show, just my observation). He just had a bad game, and unfortunately it was a grand slam final. $*&% happens, you know? As a former college tennis player, I know the feeling. There are days you just don't "have it"--and once that gets in your head, it comes out of your racquet. Your first serve percentage goes down and it seems like you're netting shots, or blowing them out of the court. And then everything becomes a distraction--the wind, the noise, the sound of your strings...everything, it seems.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"Flash in the pan" couldn't have made it to finals. There's only one winner. Doesn't make 2nd place bad. Over 7B people didn't make it to 2nd place this year.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

smithinjapanSep. 09, 2014 - 06:38PM JST Height in tennis ONLY gives you an advantage if you've perfected a certain style -- and which can be overcome if someone who is shorter has perfected theirs (or at least it's anyone's game).

20 years ago, that was true. There was alot more finess game. However, in todays game, the smaller player has much disadvantage. For the past decade, the tennis is about power. Compare to the past, there are few rallies. For a stronger and taller player like Cilic, there is a advantage because of newer technology ultralight carbon fiber composite racket and their oversize hitting surfaces, the new racket innovations have focused on power, and more of it and the bigger sweet spot. The strings are made of polyester blends can create more topspin, allowing stronger like Cilic players to swing harder, and keep the ball in the court. There is not much strategy in the tennis game as it was in the past. It's more about baseline game and who can hit the hardest and keep it play.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Are they really? Especially in Japan, the fans only pop up when somebody wins. There were no huge gatherings to watch his games even two weeks ago...

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Missray: "Not one mentioned any excuses like height."

Yes they did. Check the story. It quotes a man saying:

"As a Japanese, he is smaller than any western rival. So that alone is an obstacle."

So, how are people making that up?

SPF: if what you say is true, how does Nadal beat the others constantly if much smaller? How did Cilic ace the other tall guys like he did Nishikori? Nishikori got to where he did through hard work and skill, as did the others. Suggesting he lost, and Cic won, due to height or otherwise is insulting to both of them.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@ebisen Right, the news made the hype because he did reach the finals of the US Open. It is kind of scary to know the power and influence of media on people. It is so easy to manipulate people mind, I read that WOW got 6 times more subscribers thanks to Nishikori going to the finals. People subscrided to see a crushing final, too bad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

how does Nadal beat the others constantly if much smaller?

smithinjapan: Uh, sorry to burst your bubble, but Nadal is 6' 1" (185cm.) tall. According to many people, that is the optimum height for a tennis player: tall enough for booming serves, yet not so tall that it limits some of your movement on the baseline. Many of the top players are this height or taller: Federer, Murray, Djokovic, Del Potro, etc.

Height in tennis ONLY gives you an advantage if you've perfected a certain style

smithinjapan: And you know this for sure because you're an accomplished tennis player? Sorry, but I prefer to listen to the experts like Micheal Chang who has stated that you need to work really hard on your defensive strategies and speed to counter the height difference of taller players. The short list (no pun intended) of players under 6 feet who won a Grand Slam tournament (e.g. Agassi and Chang) had to be fast and good defensively to win games. While it's not totally impossible to win being short, it really helps to be 6 feet or taller.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

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