Magnamimous Nishikori still smiling after breakthrough year

Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:18am EST
 
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By Ossian Shine

LONDON (Reuters) - Anyone banking on the ravages of time taking their toll on Roger Federer had better think again -- the Swiss is only getting better, according to his latest victim.

Kei Nishikori, Asia's first qualifier for the prestigious ATP season-ending event, was handed a tennis lesson by the 33-year-old in London, before seeking positives.

"I think he's getting better every time," the dynamic Japanese said, explaining Tuesday's loss.

"Actually I never feel that he's 33. He looks still young, and is playing amazing tennis. I think age doesn't matter right now."

That Nishikori was able to be magnanimous in defeat, can be attributed to a breakthrough year in which he reached a grand slam final at the U.S. Open, captured four ATP World Tour titles and became the first Asian man to finish in the Top 10 of the ATP world rankings since they were introduced in 1973.

"I try to enjoy every moment I have," Nishikori said after the one-sided 6-3 6-2 affair.

"You know, after the U.S. Open, there's been a little bit (of) change, more attention for me everywhere.

"I try to enjoy every moment... Even this week, try to enjoy every match. Try to play good tennis all the time."

(Editing by Ken Ferris)

 
Kei Nishikori of Japan returns the ball to Roger Federer of Switzerland during their tennis match at the ATP World Tour finals at the O2 Arena in London November 11, 2014. REUTERS/Toby Melville