• Kyodo


Fresh from claiming his first career ATP title at the Antalya Open in southern Turkey, Yuichi Sugita arrived in London on Sunday and said he could not hope to start Wimbledon on a better note.

Sugita moved up from 66th to a career-best 44th in the latest ATP rankings. The improvement puts him second behind Kei Nishikori on the list of all-time highest-ranked male Japanese singles players, surpassing Shuzo Matsuoka whose best was 46th, achieved in 1992.

Wimbledon No. 9 seed Nishikori, who was drawn against Italy’s Marco Cecchinato in the first round, remained unchanged at No. 9 on the ATP rankings.

“I was able to achieve good results (in Turkey) and this is a perfect way to head into Wimbledon,” said Sugita.

Instead of celebrating in Turkey after Saturday’s final against Adrian Mannarino, Sugita opted to take a red-eye flight to London ahead of his first-round match at Wimbledon.

On Tuesday, Sugita faces Brydan Klein of Britain who was granted a wildcard entry into the main draw for the July 3-16 Grand Slam event.

“The speed of the balls (off the court) was really high in Antalya so I have to adjust myself here,” said Sugita.

Wimbledon and the Antalya Open are among the seven grass-court tournaments on the ATP World Tour.

“This is where I have to win. I felt myself bracing the moment I set foot in the facility (in Wimbledon),” said Sugita.

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