Tennis: US Open runner-up Nishikori says 'I can beat anybody now'
Japan’s Kei Nishikori might have fallen at the final hurdle to Marin Cilic in straight sets but he has risen with a new-found confidence.
Nishikori was defeated 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to Marin Cilic in the title match, a battle of first-time Grand Slam finalists.
Nishikori shaking hands with Cilic after the match. Photo: AFP
Chants of “Kei, Kei, Kei” rang out in Arthur Ashe Stadium as fans tried to lift him.
But after dispatching three of the top five seeds in punishing encounters, he was no match for Cilic’s power and precision.
His run to the final – itself a first for an Asian man – included wins over world number one Novak Djokovic, third-seeded Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka, and big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, the fifth seed who was a Wimbledon semi-finalist.
Kei Nishikori returning a shot. Photo: AFP
“There is a lot of things, positive things, that I learned from these two weeks,” Nishikori said.
“I played a long three matches, two five-sets and another against Novak. My body is heavy, but I am able to play.
“I don’t think a few years ago would happen like this. I think I showed my potential,” he said. “I can beat anybody now. So if I can keep training hard I think I have more chances coming up.”
Now he’ll turn his attention to making the ATP’s season-ending World Tour Finals.
And whatever he does, he can be sure a new legion of fans in Japan will be watching.
“It’s great to bring great news to Japan,” he said. “Tennis has not been the biggest sport in Japan. Women’s, yes, but men never make it this far.
"I’m really happy to make a lot of history. Hopefully I can win next time and have something more.”