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January 4, 2013

Kei Nishikori


K. NISHIKORI/A. Dolgopolov
6‑4, 7‑6

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  You managed to pull it out.  Is your knee okay?
KEI NISHIKORI:  Yeah, I think so.  It was hurting a little bit, but after tape I was okay.

Q.  Nothing serious?
KEI NISHIKORI:  I don't think so.

Q.  Do you have tendinitis there?  Is it chronic pain?
KEI NISHIKORI:  No, it's not that big thing.  Just a little tightness.

Q.  How do you feel like you're playing overall?  Obviously he's a good player.
KEI NISHIKORI:  Yeah, it was good match, I think best match this week.  He had a good serve and good return.  I was struggling a little bit after his return, but he was making a lot of the good returns.
But, yeah, I'm very happy the way I played, really offensive, aggressive, and using my forehand.  So I'm looking forward to play next match.

Q.  There is a chance you could play Andy Murray in the next match.  What would you feel going in against the US Open champion?
KEI NISHIKORI:  Yeah, he could be next No. 1 player so it's going to be tough.  I think I lost couple times, three or four times, against him.  He always play good.  He doesn't give me easy points.
You know, hopefully I play good and aggressive and try to go to net more often.  Yeah, hopefully play good.

Q.  You're 23 now.  Do you consider this year to be very big for you in your career?
KEI NISHIKORI:  Yeah, it's going to be a big step year for me.  Try to get top 10 hopefully and stay healthy and stay strong.  That's the goal for this year.

Q.  Do you feel like your game is where you want it to be?  It is close?
KEI NISHIKORI:  Yeah, I think so.  My serve is getting better, getting stronger.  I think I have five aces today, so that's good enough for me.
Yeah, everything was solid today.  It's just first week of the tour, but it's looking good.

Q.  Knowing that Rafa is not going to Melbourne, does that put a bit of a spring in your step knowing there is one less of the big four there blocking everyone's path to potentially the semifinals?
KEI NISHIKORI:  Yeah, not big deal for me yet.  My next goal to get semis in a Grand Slam.  I did good last year Australian Open, so, yeah, that's my next goal, to get to semis.

Q.  You were saying that your serve has improved.  Is one of the things you're working on trying to be more offensive so you're not having to run all the time and playing defense a lot?
KEI NISHIKORI:  Yeah.  But, you know, I don't have good serve like Raonic or some other guys, so I know I have to run a lot.  I play like, you know, David Ferrer, get every ball and try not to less unforced errors.  That's how I have to play, I think.
So, you know, at the same time I want to be aggressive and using my forehand and try to come to net more often.
Yeah, that's the next step.

Q.  So do you think that your generation of players, Dolgopolov, Raonic, and Tomic, maybe this year you guys can take the step where you can really challenge Federer and Nadal and Djokovic and Murray?
KEI NISHIKORI:  Yeah, I hope so.  Raonic is almost there, almost to top 10.  For me, I haven't beat those guys yet, top four guys.
Yeah, it's important to play with those guys and to try to win, you know.  That's big step for us, you know.

Q.  What do you think is separating them from you guys?
KEI NISHIKORI:  I don't know.  Experience for sure.  They really smart in how they play.  They take all the important points and they have good accuracy of serves, good ace.
I don't know.  If you can have a little more experience and a little more aggressive, then I think we have some chance.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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