Originally Posted by *bunny*
That's a very interesting story. You should post the text here or on the clay season thread because the link may not work forever!
I was a little lazy to copy and paste the entire text
Your right the link might not work forever so here are the texts of the articles
The drive to 45
JAPANESE SENSATION: Nishikori takes another step to cracking top 45
By Mic Huber
Published: Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 9:09 p.m.
LONGBOAT KEY - Nick Bollettieri barely drew a breath before offering his impression of the tennis genius that resides in the body of Kei Nishikori.
"He is one of the most talented players in the world with his foot speed and his hand speed and ability to hit shots," Bollettieri said Wednesday. "He can do just about anything."
Wednesday night, Nishikori did enough to take another step on his personal comeback trail by beating Tim Smyczek 6-4, 6-3 in the second round of the Sarasota Open being played at The Tennis Gardens at the Longboat Key Club and Resort.
Bollettieri knows talent and the tennis coaching legend has known Nishikori since the native of Shimane, Japan, arrived at the IMG Academies doorstep, unable to speak a word of English, nearly eight years ago.
Now, 20 and a cult figure in Japan, Nishikori is fluent in English; what he can do on the tennis court translates in any language. There is that blazing speed, split-second reactions, and those remarkable shots that can elicit gasps from fans and cries of frustration from opponents.
"He has the things you can't teach ... that foot speed and hand-eye coordination," said Bollettieri, who dares to compare Nishikori's talent in that regard to Andre Agassi and Marcelo Rios. "He has that same ability. It's off the wall what he can do."
The world got its first glimpse of that type of promise when Nishikori, then 18, burst onto the scene in the spring of 2008 by winning a professional tournament at Delray Beach, becoming the youngest player to win an ATP title since Lleyton Hewitt did it at age 16 a decade earlier. Along the way to the title at Delray, Nishikori beat Sam Querrey in the semifinals and James Blake in the championship match.
Overnight, Nishikori had hit the tennis radar in the United States. In Japan, he became an instant rock star and added to his aura that fall when he became the first Japanese player in 71 years to reach the fourth round at the U.S. Open.
Suddenly, he had a huge contingent of Asian fans following him everywhere he played. Japanese reporters were assigned to cover his every move. His photos popped up everywhere in his own country.
"I get very nervous when I play in Japan. It is tough to play," Nishikori admitted after winning his first-round match here Tuesday night. "I don't get nervous here in the U.S. Here I can just relax and play tennis."
The opportunity to train outside the glare of the Japanese sports spotlight is one of the reasons Nishikori purchased a condominium in Bradenton two years ago, a residence located five minutes from the Bollettieri academy."I enjoy being able to work out and improve my game," said Nishikori, with his ever-present smile. Much of that work comes with the help of his traveling coach, Glenn Weiner, who also trained at Bollettieri's as a teenager.
At IMG Academies, the popular and engaging player has been called Project 45, referring to the goal of becoming the highest ranked player ever out of Japan. It is a title currently held by retired Shuzo Matsuoka, who achieved a ranking of No. 46 in 1992 and at one time helped coach Nishikori.On the strength of his play in 2008, Nishikori reached No. 58 in February of last year and appeared to be right on target.
So why is Nishikori playing in the $50,000 Sarasota Open this week? As is the case with so many players, injury has a way of disrupting the best laid plans.
A pain he started feeling in his right elbow last January would not go away and Nishikori finally underwent surgery in September.
His ranking is currently No. 345 but he won a Challenger event last week in Savannah, Ga., his first tournament title."I have to get my confidence back," Nishikori said about the Challenger type tournaments he has been playing. "I won some matches in Baton Rouge and Tallahassee but I was not playing good. But last week, I played well. I was happy the way I played and happy to win a title."I can't get my confidence by just practicing. I have to play, and these type of tournaments are good to get better. I don't know if I could win an ATP match yet. My serve is not quite there yet. My tennis is not 100 percent. I need some confidence."
He is as humble as he is willing to work. Through it all, Nishikori and his advisors, including Olivier van Lindonk, have chosen to take the deliberate rout coming back. That means playing in small events and rehabbing at the Bollettieri Sports Medicine facility.
Soon they will decide whether to continue playing Challengers in the U.S. or head to the French Open, where Nishikori is on the cusp of getting into the main draw."The main thing is that he has to stay positive and not put his head down," Bollettieri said. "He can get back to where he was. If he stays injury free, by the time the U.S. Open comes around (Aug. 30) we will be in the ballpark."
A big one at that.