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Kei Nishikori Targets Strong Grass Swing; Top 5 Emirates ATP Rankings Goal

Halle, Germany

Kei Nishikori has been training with his coach, Michael Chang, in Halle for a week ahead of the Gerry Weber Open.

Speaking to ATPWorldTour.com, Nishikori said, “I have been practising well on grass in Halle and hopefully I can do well. I’ve worked on minor changes, being more aggressive at the back of the court and in coming to the net. It’s not easy to play on clay and then switch to grass-courts.”

Nishikori has a 15-15 lifetime record on grass courts.

The 24-year-old Japanese star broke into the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time at No. 9 on 12 May. He has his sights sets on a higher goal.

“It’s not easy to maintain a ranking,” said Nishikori, who is now at No. 12. “But my next goal is to break into the Top 5.”

Chang, the 1989 Roland Garros champion, told ATPWorldTour.com, “I want Kei’s style to be his own and to be able to go out there and play the game he feels most comfortable with. Of course, it is good to learn things from other players but I want him to go out there and be the best.”

Nishikori has a 27-6 match report on the season, which includes two ATP World Tour titles at the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships (d. Karlovic) and the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (d. Giraldo). He also reached his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final at the Mutua Madrid Open (d. Nadal).

Nishikori will play Gael Monfils or Benjamin Becker in the Halle first round.

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