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Kei Nishikori: Let's Get Physical

Nishikori© keinishikori.comNishikori has focused on bulking up this off-season in preparation for 2012.

Kei Nishikori began the 2011 season ranked 98th but reasserted himself as one of the game’s future stars with an impressive year. The 21 year old posted a 36-22 record, reaching finals in Houston and Basel, and recording wins against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, and Top 10 players Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych.

He also became the highest Japanese ranked player in ATP World Tour history after advancing to the semi-finals of the Shanghai Rolex Masters. Nishikori finished the year ranked No. 25 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings and will look to break further ground in 2012.

ATPWorldTour.com sat down with Nishikori at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida to discuss his off-season training for Form & Fitness presented by COMPEED.


Compeed

How are you preparing for the 2012 season?
This off-season, I used two weeks for just training. I’ve played tennis as well, but my first goal is to get a strong body, so I’ve been working on becoming more physical. I also hope to have a healthy season next year with no big injuries.

Are there specific areas that you’ve been targeting in the off-season?
I’ve done a lot of core and balance exercises. I’ve done heavy weights too, but balance is something I’ve been working on a lot.

How much of an impact do you believe your level of endurance contributed to your rise in 2011?
It’s hard to say because I think it’s something I need to have. I’m not a big guy so I have to get as many balls back as possible to win the points. So having good endurance is important. It’s something I’ve been working on improving this off-season too.

What area of fitness do you think you need to work on most and how do you plan on addressing this?
I think I need to get my entire body bigger in terms of strength. But I also need to have better balance when players are moving me side-to-side as I’m often on the run.

What makes the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy a good training base?
A lot of things. I can concentrate on just tennis here. Also, a lot of top players come down, especially now during the off-season, which allows us to train with a number of guys. There are also tons of great coaches here. It’s nice to be able to play tennis and train, and sleep. It’s not a situation we get to be in often.

What are some exercises or stretches you’d recommend a tennis fan implement into their training program?
I’d recommend adding in a number of groin stretches. The adductors are used when changing directions and moving around the court, so players should remember not to forget about this area.

Which player on tour do you think…
Has the strongest core?
Roger Federer
Is the quickest? Rafael Nadal
Has the best footwork? David Ferrer
Is the most flexible? Novak Djokovic
Has the best balance? Gael Monfils
Has the greatest muscular endurance? Rafael Nadal

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