Two days removed from their highly anticipated tie against Canada, the Japanese team, lead by top star Kei Nishikori, are prepared to extend their dominant lead over their North American adversaries to a perfect 6-0 after this weekend’s tie.
While Japan holds a dominant lead in the series over Canada, the team they will face this year is no longer simply based on one strong singles player (Milos Raonic) as Vasek Pospisil has stepped up his game to boost himself into the Top 30 players on the ATP Tour, even reaching the third round of the Australian Open at the start of the season, and will certainly be a tough challenge for Nishikori on the first day of their tie.
While this may be the case, Pospisil had to withdraw from the season-opening Grand Slam event due to a back injury he suffered a week prior in the Chennai semi-finals against Stanislas Wawrinka. Whether he will be able to aid his team to victory at the crucial tie is yet to be determined. In all cases, Nishikori is prepared for a tough encounter against both Canadian foes.
“For sure it’s going to be a really tough match even if we play at home,” said Nishikori. “Raonic and Vasek [Pospisil] are doing well right now and they have a great doubles so it’s not going to be an easy tie.”
Nishikori also admit that playing on home soil is a slight advantage to him, due to the faster surface and the crowd support. The Japanese No. 1 is aware that he will need to win both of his singles matches to secure the victory for the Japanese squad, but refuses to succumb to the pressure of the moment.
“I love to play team competition and I love to play for my country. It’s always fun. It’s a big advantage [playing at home], we have more support, we always play at the Ariake site, which is a little bit faster.
“I never feel the pressure. I have to win two singles to beat Canada but I just play my tennis and the result will come.”