Japanese No. 1 Kei Nishikori revealed following the Mutua Madrid Open final that he will withdraw from the Rome Masters, and will focus on preparing for the French Open at the end of the month.
Nishikori, who faced world No. 1 and defending champion Rafael Nadal in the final on Sunday, was playing some extraordinary tennis, but ultimately retired from the contest in the third set with a hip injury. He was trailing 2-6, 6-4, 3-0.
Following the contest, Nishikori revealed that he was disappointed with the result, particularly since he was playing “almost the best tennis” of his career, and believes he may have defeated the Spaniard had he not retired with the injury.
“It was very sad, especially (since) I was winning, playing almost best tennis in my life,” said Nishikori, who will become the first Japanese player in the top-10 when the new rankings are released. “It was very tough mentally for me. But I get a lot of confidence from this tournament. “You never know what happens today if I’m not hurt. I may have chance to win.”
Even Nadal’s uncle and coach was willing to admit that Nishikori deserved the title win on Sunday.
“We don’t deserve the victory, (Nishikori) deserves it, he played better than us the whole time,” Nadal’s uncle and coach Toni Nadal told Antenna 3 TV. “We had a lot of luck today. We didn’t really come back, he was hurt.”