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August 14, 2019

Yoshihito Nishioka

Cincinnati, Ohio

Y. NISHIOKA/K. Nishikori

7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Talk about the win and just what it means for you to beat someone who you have said is someone you look up to and was one of your idols.
YOSHIHITO NISHIOKA: Well, I was so excited to play with him, because he's the hero of the Japanese tennis, most of the Asian tennis.

So I was very excited to play. I couldn't sleep yesterday, you know (smiling). I know him very well. I was watching him when I was junior. I was learning many things from him.

That means I know about him, as well. So I try my best. I know about him. So I just try go his weakness and what I can do, and then for sure I tried to win the match. But doesn't matter win or lose. Just try my best against my hero.

Then today I won. But this is very, I think, important experience for me. Doesn't matter win or lose. Just play with him. Today I learn many things from him.

Yes, today very happy, but most happy thing is play with him today.

Q. On Monday you said to beat these top players you need to play more aggressive style. Today I felt like you did. You hit a 123-mile-an-hour serve today. I didn't know you had that type of pop. Was it adrenaline or what was going on with that?
YOSHIHITO NISHIOKA: I know his returning the best. I used slower service and then, like, fast service. So I use mix it up, and then he cannot figure out which one is coming.

So I was thinking sometimes many spin and sometimes many slice, using different service. Most important thing was how many time I can hold my service game.

And then I know he gonna break my service game one time for sure, so if I hold in that service game and only one-time break maybe I have chance. So I was very focused on my service game.

Q. You just played a great match against your hero. How do you prepare for the next match? How do you prevent yourself from having a letdown? What's your mindset going into the next match?
YOSHIHITO NISHIOKA: Yeah, for sure I'm feeling very good. We play one time before in Miami Open. That time I won, but it was 3 or 0 or something, so it should be very different. His ranking is higher than me, so last time I won but my mentality have to be like challenger against him.

Same thing like today. I just do my best and then, you know, try to play aggressive. Sometimes use my quickness and make maybe long rally or something, maybe fun or something. Just try what I want to do like today. Then hopefully I win.

Q. Because of Kei's results, he's basically like a celebrity in Japan. Is that something that you want for yourself? Do you like having the attention on you, spotlight on you? Or are you more kind of a private person?
YOSHIHITO NISHIOKA: Yeah, hopefully many spot on me like today, hopefully (smiling). You know, now Japanese tennis, only famous players is Kei and Naomi. That's all. I know they are very good, for sure. They are making top 10 or No. 1. But, you know, they not going to see other players. So I want to change that. So hopefully they are gonna watch me maybe, like after the match. I want to check tomorrow their morning news what they gonna say (smiling).

Q. Two things I noticed from this match. For one, your body language was 100% better than earlier matches. Today you didn't get upset hardly at all. You won 60% of the return points in the second set. Did you find a rhythm there? Did you just kind of get a read on the serve?
YOSHIHITO NISHIOKA: Well, today is very different, my motivations, because, you know, I was so excited to play with him. I was nervous, beginning. But also, I can see he's nervous, too. So I think we both was tight, but I have challenger mentality. Maybe I was playing more aggressive than him.

If I have chance to play aggressive his service game when he got second serve, I just tried to inside to play. And it sometimes work, sometimes not, but doesn't matter. Just try. And then just get pressure on his service game, yeah.

Q. Did he say anything to you after the match?

Q. Nishikori.
YOSHIHITO NISHIOKA: We didn't meet yet.

Q. At the net?
YOSHIHITO NISHIOKA: Oh, sorry, at the net? Yeah, yeah. Just "Congratulations," you know, just "Good luck."

Q. Did you feel like you had some success attacking his forehand and getting some errors out of that? Was that part of your strategy, like, in the second set?
YOSHIHITO NISHIOKA: Yeah, I can see couple mistakes from forehand. So if I have chance, try to hit his forehand. Yeah, that was my plan, try to be aggressive against to his forehand.

Q. You and Kei had practiced together before at the IMG Academy. So when you're playing someone who is your hero, did those practice sessions help at all as far as making you less nervous? You know, you've already seen him across the net before. Now he's just another opponent?
YOSHIHITO NISHIOKA: Very different, practice and match. We play many times practice. It was, since first time, was maybe like six or seven years ago, something. This is first match on tour event. So it's very different.

So I always nervous practice with him, but today was more, because, you know, it's different. Yeah, feeling very different, play match and practice.

Q. Was today the biggest win of your career? You mentioned Goffin was maybe up till now your biggest win. This week as a whole, four matches in five days now, all wins. Can you summarize from yourself now so far?
YOSHIHITO NISHIOKA: Oh, well, I'm tired. I'm tired, but, yeah, I'm playing very good. Right now I'm feeling very good.

I got the chance right now. Try to go far away, much as I can. I want to more higher ranking, so, yeah, body a little bit tired but can't say that, you know. Just try my best. Yeah, that's all.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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