GENEVA – World No. 9 Kei Nishikori admitted Sunday he is not in perfect condition, but he hopes to win the Geneva Open and use the tournament as a much-needed chance to fine-tune his game in pursuit of Grand Slam glory.
Still recovering from a right wrist injury that has forced him to withdraw from the recent Madrid Open and make a third-round exit from last week’s Italian Open, Nishikori made his entry for the May 21-27 tournament at the last minute.
Nishikori, along with defending champion Stan Wawrinka, was given a wild card, with the two top-10 players joining the field as the No. 2 and No. 1 seeds, respectively.
“(My wrist injury) is not in the best condition but I think it’s getting better. I hope I win here,” said Nishikori, who receives a bye into the second round in the outdoor clay court tournament.
The 27-year-old will not only be looking to win his first title since the Memphis Open in February 2016 in his Geneva Open debut, but also the much-needed confidence on clay in his preparations for the French Open which gets under way May 28.
Nishikori became the first Japanese Grand Slam finalist at the U.S. Open in 2014, and is hoping to become the first Asian men’s singles Grand Slam champion in Paris.
The Swiss tournament will be Nishikori’s last chance to test his game after only being able to play in four matches in the last two events despite coming off a month-and-a-half-long injury break.
“It’s rare for me to play the week before the French Open but I needed to compete in more matches to boost confidence,” said Nishikori.
“The most important thing is not to get injured. I hope to play good tennis and carry the momentum into next week.”