「NISHIKORI REGRETS ‘WORST MATCH IN A FEW YEARS’」
A frustrated Kei Nishikori showed up for the press conference after losing to Thomaz Bellucci 6-4 6-3 in a first-round match at the Rio Open presented by Claro. Seeded number one at Jockey Club Brasileiro, the Japanese said this could have been “his worst match in a few years”.
“I think I didn’t play one of my best matches today. In fact, this could have been my worst match in a few years. I think we both have struggled a little bit on the first set, we both missed a lot. Thomaz played better on the second”, expressed the World Number 5.
“I felt it wasn’t my day today. And I don’t think he played great tennis too”.
The Japanese, who came from reaching the final at Buenos Aires last Sunday, losing to Ukrainian Aleksandr Dolgopolov, expressed he had difficulty adapting from the conditions in Argentina to the ones in Rio de Janeiro.
“The conditions changed so much from last week, the bounce was really high and the ball was really heavy. I think the ball was the most difficult thing to adjust today and I couldn’t feel anything today”, said the Japanese, who had only one practice session at Jockey Club Brasileiro -- coincidently with Thiago Monteiro, who will be Bellucci’s next opponent.
Nishikori was so frustrated he even broke a racquet after losing the first set. And he admitted he had never been so angry before.
“Yeah, it could be”.
In his turn, Thomaz Bellucci praised his concentration during the match as key to reach his first win against a top-five player since 2011 had beaten British Andy Murray in Madrid.
“I was focused from the first to the last game. I played tactically well and didn’t let him get comfortable on court. And I defended myself very well”, stated the Brazilian, World Number 76 in the ATP Rankings.
Bellucci didn’t agree completely with Nishikori, stating this wasn’t one of his greatest matches, but not as bad as the Japanese said.
“Nobody plays that bad from nothing”.
On the next round, Bellucci will face Monteiro, who did the preseason with him and is his doubles partner at Jockey Club Brasileiro -- they will face Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in a first-round match.
We know each other very well, it will be a tough match. It will be emotionally difficult for us both, he expressed.