Nishikori Revisits Junior Glory Days In Buenos Aires
Top seed reflects on Roland Garros boys’ doubles win with Massa
Kei Nishikori’s connection to Argentina goes way beyond his partnership with current coach Dante Bottini. More than a decade after winning the 2006 Roland Garros boys’ doubles title, Kei Nishikori and former Argentine player Emiliano Massa reunited at the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires.
After Nishikori defeated Diego Schwartzman in his opening match on Wednesday, he met up with Massa in the player’s lounge to relive those special memories. What they lacked in verbal communication during their junior playing days, they made up for with a natural partnership on court.
“We almost lost the first two matches. We barely spoke English at the time, so we talked very little to each other,” recalled Massa to the Argentina Open website. “What I remember most is his speed. Not only his movements, but also the acceleration.”
Their careers ultimately went in radically different directions. Massa was forced to retire from competitive tennis at age 23 due to injuries, while Nishikori went on to become a Top 10 fixture and global superstar. But the Argentine showed nothing but happiness for his former doubles partner and even took a picture with Nishikori to remember their reunion.
“I have the greatest memories with him from my junior years. It was the first time I won a Grand Slam and it was a very special moment for us,” said Nishikori. “Emiliano is an extremely nice guy. It’s been almost 10 years since we had seen each other and unfortunately he had so many injuries. [But] it’s been great to see him. All the memories came back.”