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Monday, June 20, 2011

Kei Nishikori: Tennis Warrior

Have you ever seen the TV show “Ninja Warrior”? If you haven’t, stop what you’re doing right now (reading this awesome blog…and listening to smooth jazz?) and go put it on your TIVO right away. Back? Okay, good. Now please keep reading.

For many Japanese men, becoming a Ninja Warrior is a great accomplishment, but not great enough for 21 year-old Kei Nishikori. As a professional tennis player, Nishikori has set his goals a little higher as he attempts to become not only one of the best tennis players in Japanese history, but to also become one of the best tennis players in the world. Like many great things--cheese, wine, Li Na (the 29 year-old Chinese female who recently won the French Open), Nishikori can only promise to get better with age.

According to the very talkative, very hard-to-understand Japanese man with the cubicle next to me, it is actually quite common for Asian tennis players to reach their peak when they are much older (I told him it was the opposite of Asian Gymnasts, but I’m not sure if he got the joke…). At a mere 21, Nishikori has already reach a career high ranking of number 46 in the world AND has helped to raise over $160,000 for the Red Cross disaster relief in Japan. To say he has become an inspiration to his home nation would be an understatement.

With his game being described as athletic and acrobatic, Nishikori would actually be the perfect candidate for “Ninja Warrior” but luckily for us loyal tennis fans, he has taken his talents to the tennis court instead and we have no complaints here! Advancing to the third round this year at the Australian Open, and the second round at the French Open, we are already seeing flashes of brilliance from Nishikori. Hopefully he will continue this Grand Slam success as he takes his talents to the grass courts of Wimbledon next week.

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