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January 6, 2019

Kei Nishikori

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

K. NISHIKORI/D. Medvedev

6-4, 3-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: First question for Kei, please.

Q. Kei, congratulations firstly. Secondly, in the third set what do you think changed the tempo, turned the match finally your way?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, I felt like second set I was a little bit like waiting too much, and I couldn't convert all the chances I had. And he did really well the last game. I mean 4-3 game. And he took the risk, and he did well, and I mean credit to him for second set that I had so many chances and I think I could win, you know, two sets. But maybe the third set I start playing a little bit more inside, start hitting more. And when I realized I had to do something to win this match, and I think I made a change really well. I think return well. That was the biggest key, I think. Able to return very deep. And I think I gave him a little pressure. So, yeah, happy to play another good tennis.

Q. Kei, after you did lose that second set was there any part of you that felt like you had lost your way in the match or you felt like really the momentum was on his side?
KEI NISHIKORI: A little bit. I start thinking first couple of games that I think that wasn't good finish for the second set. I had so many chances, and I couldn't get it, and he was playing better last couple of games of the second set.

And I think we both a little bit tired. I think we both could see each other, and there was many long rallies, and it was humid, heavy today. So I knew I have to be a little more focused and stronger to win this match. So I tried to focus. The second game I was down 0-30, and, yeah, I thought about to lose the match if he could get first couple of games in the third set, I think he could serve better. But I couldn't let him do it. So it was a good match.

Q. Kei, you first played this tournament 10 years ago. When you think about all your visits here, what are your main recollections of your experiences here?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, that was ten years ago first time. Yeah, I feel like I played this tournament so many times, and mostly I was doing well, many semifinals, and two years ago I was final against Dimi. It was good match, and I feel like I almost play well this tournament. So I knew I going to have a chance sometimes, and yeah, this week was one of the best playing so far for this tournament, I think, and I never had this good start of the year. So I feel like very confident and very happy to finally win this tournament.

Q. Kei, you were rock solid all week here. I don't think you've been past the quarters in Melbourne. What does this mean to you in terms of the leadup to the first Grand Slam of the year? How does this position you to hopefully do well down there?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, I mean the main goal is to do well in Australian Open, but I'm really happy that I've been playing really well this week. Even if I lose today, I think I was very confident, and some of the matches I played one of the best. So, yeah, I'm happy to go in Melbourne, and yeah, I feel like one of my favorite tournaments there. So I feel like I have many support and feel almost home there. So I hope I can do well better than quarterfinal.

Q. Kei, do you think you'll start next year, all things being equal with fitness, et cetera, do you think you'll start next year at the ATP Cup, and secondly, what do you think of the format as it's been outlined to the players during last year?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, it's too far away to think. I mean having a good start always with this tournament. I mean I gotta see schedule and we'll see.

Q. Your right hand, is that going to cause you any trouble at all for the Australian Open?
KEI NISHIKORI: No. All good.

Q. Last year you were playing a challenger for starting new season. How do you describe the contrast?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, I was a little bit sad, you know, of course. I always start with this tournament and Melbourne and couldn't make it last year, you know. So I had to start some challengers, and there was no ATP tournament that week, so I kind of had to choose challenger. But this is, for sure, a better start, because I feel this tournament is always start of the year; and playing with these guys, these top players this always motivate me. And playing good tennis, very happy and healthy is one of the best key for me.

Q. What was the overwhelming emotion when you put your racquet down and came out and celebrated on the court? What was the one thing you felt the most having lost those nine in a row?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, just felt very happy because it was really tight match. Didn't start well. I was down 3-0 and he was playing good tennis, too. So I mean, of course, to win the tournament is very emotional, and I mean that's why I'm playing for. I was trying every final and every tournament. And I mean, even if it's 250, you know, played some great matches against Dimi, and today's match it was another good tennis. And I'm sure Daniil is going to be Top 10 soon, so it was a good match again today.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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