hi there. I only recently ever heard of kei nishikori i was browsing round on the site and saw that he was # 56 in the rankings at one point and now he's down at 648 and i wondered what happened there?
did he really beat james blake to win the delray title in 2008?
Maybe you started watching tennis seriously only recently?
Well Kei was out with an injury for more than a year. Hence the ranking drop.
And yes, he had a breakthrough year in 2008. He won Delray Beach as a qualifier, beating Querrey in semifinals and Blake in the finals. At 18 and 1 month, he was the youngest ATP titlist since Hewitt in 1998.
Watch the final game here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hF1PtoXhWz4
Kei also took a set off Rafa at Queens when he was No. 1, and at USO, he beat the 4th seed Ferrer in the third round in five sets. He also reached semifinals in Stockholm.
Other big scalps Kei took from 2008 to early 2009 include Berdych, Gulbis and Monaco, and he won the 2008 ATP Newcomer's Award.
But he sufferred a persistent elbow injury in January 2009. At first it was diagnosed as a mustle strain so he played on till IW in March. But then it was re-diagnosed as tendonitis, and finally a stress fracture was detected, which required surgery and took so long to heal.
So he was sidelined from mid-March 2009 to February this year. He made a brief comeback at Delray Beach, but he was not 100% yet and he started again at Baton Rouge in April.
He is ranked in 600s now, but in March he dropped off the rankings table altogether because he lost all the points. But he has got the protected ranking of 106 because he was sidelined for more than six months.
It must be said that he's quite injury prone. Even in 2008, he had many minor injuries that sidelined him from time to time. Maybe his body is not strong/mature enough to bear the day-to-day stress of a pro, but he seems to be working on his fitness very hard so hopefully he can remain injury free and he will shoot up the rankings again!
If you ever have a chance to see him play, please do so because he's a real talent!