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May 27, 2015

Kei Nishikori


K. NISHIKORI/T. Bellucci
7-5, 6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. I want to ask you two-in-one question. Who are the people at your player box? And the other part is about your coach Dante Bottini. What can you tell us about all the years you have been working with him?
KEI NISHIKORI: My team, Dante, Michael, and Olivier, that's my manager. My family is here, too. Well, we have been working long time, and especially here on clay. He has a lot of knowledge. He have a lot of experience on clay. He's working me very hard, and it's been working really well. So I feel like Michael and Dante working me very hard, and I feel improvements, as you can see, obviously, my ranking is going very high from last year and two years ago. So I'm very happy with both of them.

Q. How does it feel to be an outsider here this year in Paris?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, I don't know. I have a lot of confidence on clay right now, so I hope I can do well here, because I haven't done, you know, not the best result coming yet. But I'm feeling really well on these two matches and winning three straight sets against, you know, a tough player like Thomaz. Very happy to be going next round.

Q. Why is it that you haven't done well at Roland Garros up to now, and if so, what are the changes that you have put into your game to improve?
KEI NISHIKORI: I think it's just the timing-wise, you know. Last year I was injured after Madrid and couldn't really play 100% here. And also I started playing well last year, Barcelona, starting Barcelona and Madrid. But I think that this year I'm feeling comfortable and very confident, and my body is good. Mental is also good, so I'm very focused. Yeah, like I said, I hope I try to do well here, and, yeah, let's see what's happen.

Q. How important is it for you to play for Japan, to represent your country very far from it? There are a lot of media from Japan. People from Japan in the stands too. Tennis is more and more there. How important is it for you?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, it's always, you know, an honor to be Japanese, especially right now, I am No. 1 Asian player. And I had many kids start playing tennis in Japan, and you can see five people in the main draw this week. I'm very sure that, you know, Japan is getting stronger, especially men's. I hope I can do, you know, more stuff and more, you know, better result and I hope I can bring good news to Japan. I hope tennis or even other sports get big in Japan.

Q. How difficult was it for you as a Japanese player to really step up and get that winning mentality? Did training in America help you with that?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, I'm sure that mentally I got really strong living in the States, because I wasn't mentally really strong and I wasn't really like fighter when I was little. When I moved to U.S., you have to be stronger somehow, and a lot of kids from different countries and sometimes you have to play with, you know, big guys, you know, especially I was small when I was, you know, little age. Yeah, when you have to play a lot of tournaments and you get more experience and you get more confidence playing a lot of matches, and also you get mentally strong, I think.

Q. In 2012 you had your first Grand Slam breakthrough, quarterfinals in Australia, and then you decided to go to Buenos Aires to play clay. You took up that decision to get better on the surface. Two years later you had your big breakthrough in Barcelona and Madrid. Can you walk us through the process of learning how to play clay in those two, three years?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, I think that was a great decision for me and my coach. It wasn't easy decision going clay after Australia, and that was first time for me to go South America playing especially after turning pro. I was playing a lot of clay court when I was junior. But, yeah, those little things, little experience helped for now, I think.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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