Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What are your thoughts on that one?
KEI NISHIKORI: I mean, never easy playing Benoit, of course. Great serve, great backhand. Tricky player. Good dropshot, good touch. First set I think the key was the longest game, I think 2-1. Able to get the game. I was more confident. If he broke back, anything can happen. Yeah, it was good match. Never easy with this wind. First time playing this tournament. But, yeah, think played good enough tennis today.
Q. Can you talk a little about the conditions out there. Did you practice yesterday? Was it worse than yesterday?
KEI NISHIKORI: It was windy, but when I was watching yesterday, especially night match, it was so windy. I think better than that. But still was good wind inside the court. It wasn’t easy to play actually.
Q. Have you had a chance to look around Dubai yet?
KEI NISHIKORI: I did. I went the thing I did, Flying Cup. It was really fun. Able to see beautiful beach. I want to go to the tourist tower. I forgot the name. That’s what I want to visit. Never been that high before. I wish I can have some time. I don’t think I will, but I hope I can enjoy this week.
Q. Why do you want to go to the tower?
KEI NISHIKORI: This is beautiful city. I mean, not too many times I able to go that high. Well, there is one in Tokyo, but I never been there, too. Yeah, I wish I can go maybe after the tournament.
Q. Can you also talk a little about skill, how important that is in a time where most of the young players coming up are all big and powerful.
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, I think for me is more power than skill, and speed also. That’s something what I don’t have, the power. I got to use my touch, slice, spin, angles, use different shots. But I feel like there is more power player these days, more tall guys in top 10. Not easy, but actually I learned from David a lot, Ferrer. We played so many times. He was the one using his physical and speed, his toughness. I mean also Andy, too, but he’s little bit taller. I learned many things from different players.
Q. How far do you think you are from your best?
KEI NISHIKORI: Now? I don’t know. I want to say 100%. I mean, there is up and down each match, but I think I’m more consistent now. From end of the year last year, I think I’ve been playing good tennis every match. That’s something I had to work on. I think it’s going to be very important that I can able to play 80%, 90% every match. That’s going to be my goal this year.
Q. Benoit’s style of play is obviously quite a test for you. Is that useful? How is your body standing up to it?
KEI NISHIKORI: Feeling good. I mean, never easy with this wind, his style of the play. Never easy to feel good rhythm with him. I thought I was serving okay. Everything was good. Yeah, never easy to play Benoit, but I think it was good tennis I did today.
Q. We’ve seen a few of the top seeds going out already in the first round. What are your thoughts on that? Does that change your approach?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yes, I think this wind makes tougher for everybody. I mean, now these days anything can happen. Everybody is getting stronger. I’m not really surprise with these results. For me, I never see the draw. I don’t even know who I’m playing next. Yeah, I just try to play one match at a time.
Q. How much harder are you working physically? You said speed is your ally. Are you working harder now in the off-season than maybe two, three years ago?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, that’s for sure. I been training little more off-season, of course. But I try to make couple different off-season, like, spots before clay. I try to work two weeks very hard. After Wimbledon, too. If I have two weeks, I try to do a lot. That’s something maybe I couldn’t do five years ago. Now I’m getting more stronger. I’m top 10, so I don’t have to play too much tournaments. That’s also helping to do little more physical, and also during the tournament, too, like this week.