Kei Nishikori is taking the positives from this return to tennis, despite being defeated by Daniil Medvedev in the ATP Cup.
Nishikori, who underwent elbow surgery in late 2019, played in only four tournaments in 2020 and had his much awaited return leading Team Japan against Team Russia in this year’s first team tournament.
The current World number 41 had a slow start to the match, but seemed to find more momentum in the second set however his consistency let him down, with Medvedev winning the match 6-2,6-4.
But Nishikori says despite the defeat, he was pleased with his overall progress and stamina and is improving rapidly while making adjustments to his game.
“I’ve changed my serving form, I’m not used to it yet, but I think my serve was good” Nishikori said.
“I had a bad start, couldn’t hit clean at all, but it was not so bad overall today, I still have lots of things to work on though.
“I couldn’t keep my level, had more ups and downs than usual, but stamina-wise it was better than expected.
“I’m getting better everyday, the first (on-court practice) day was just horrible” Nishikori revealed.
“In the second set, everything was good. Sometimes I missed volleys and lost important points maybe due to bad timing, and I hope I will have more stable stroke.
“There were as many good points as bad points.”
“Honestly I didn’t want to play a top 10 player in my first match, I wish I could have played those players later with more confidence.
“He didn’t give me easy points, his shots were deep, his quality was high. But overall, it was way better than my comeback match in last September.”
For more exclusive content from Tennisbuzz, including news, features, trivia, promotions and more, please be sure to sign up for our newsletter below or via our home page.
Why not test your tennis knowledge by tackling one of our fiendish quizzes too?