Wednesday, September 5, 2018
K. NISHIKORI/M. Cilic
2-6, 6-4, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Tough battle out there. Now you're going to the semis. First of all, talk about the way you played today and where are you putting yourself in this tournament?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, he started very well. And also, I didn't make any first serve in the beginning, especially. Well, didn't feel like I was playing great. I had to stay tough, especially second set.
You know, I started playing better from 4-2. I tried to swing little more and play aggressive and start working better from 4-2 down.
But, yeah, I felt like he was playing good tennis, and he gave me some free points, but he was playing great today so it wasn't easy. But I really happy to win, go through matches like this. You know, it wasn't easy, and I didn't feel like I was playing, you know, best tennis today, but, you know, fought through somehow and, yeah, gives me big confidence playing semis next round.
Q. You said the other day that you aren't feeling the same pressure that you might have felt a few years ago, but in the fifth set in the quarterfinal at the US Open there is always some sort of pressure. So what was your mindset at that point?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, I tried to refocus after losing fourth set. He was start playing better again, and I almost, you know, lose confidence during fourth set, but I tried to focus again in the fifth. Able to, you know, fight every point, every game, and, yeah, even though he came back from 4-1, you know, it wasn't easy, you know, mentally for me. He was coming back strong.
Almost had 5-1 point. It wasn't easy, but I tried to stay calm and I really focused, especially last game. I think able to make all returns. Very nice finish, last point.
Q. You won and Naomi won, also. Historic. Can you just tell us how much this means, what it means in Japan, the people there?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah, it's great to see. She's doing well, because she has, you know, she has won a Masters. I think she can, you know, win a title now, even though Grand Slam. So I feel, you know, big chance for her.
Well, also happy for myself, too, you know, being injured last year. You know, I couldn't play this tournament last year. Happy to coming back, semis, and, yeah, always play good here. So I hope I can keep going.
Q. You had dinner with her in the spring. You have gotten to know her a little bit now. She said she might get in trouble for saying this, but she said you're like a big kid. What do you find she's like?
KEI NISHIKORI: She looks...huh. Well, she looks matured and she looks older, but when we talk, she's also kid (smiling).
Q. You both like video games; is that right?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, we do, yes.
Q. Do you talk about gaming?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, we don't play same game. I wish we can play together the same game. Maybe in the future. We gotta talk (smiling).
Q. Back in Japan, baseball is the king of sport. Do you think for a few days maybe tennis will kind of make some headway with what you guys are doing here?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, I hope so. I hope people watching us today. Yeah, hopefully many people cheering in support for us. And even here we saw, or I saw a lot of Japanese coming up for the tournament.
It's good to have, you know, home support outside of Japan. Yeah, it's great news we both in semis. Yeah, hopefully we do well this week.
Q. The match between Novak and John has not been played yet, but if you are to face Novak, what is it about your history and facing him that has given you the most knowledge about him, and what is the challenge like for you?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah, I don't have great record against Novak, but always, you know, it's been a tough match last couple of years. I seen a chance, but I haven't able to, you know, make the last step.
Yeah, always excited to play Novak, because it's great challenge for me. Always exciting to play him. Good player. Even like today, you know, I have big respect with Marin. I knew it's gonna be battle.
Yeah, especially after coming from injury, I think I'm enjoying this challenge. If he wins, yeah, it's gonna be tough, but, well, John is playing great. Either one is gonna be tough. I will try to play, you know, same like today, you know, being aggressive and positive out there and hope I can play another good tennis next round.
Q. What is it about his game that is most difficult for you?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, he's very solid from baseline. He doesn't have many weakness. He has, you know, great backhand and forehand, too. He can being aggressive, and serve, he got better, too. I will say everything (smiling).
Q. I'm not sure if you talked about this before, but what's the story behind the camouflage paint job for the racquet?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, you can ask Wilson. Well, it's very new. I like it. You know, there is couple different colors. Mine looks maybe little too Army, but, you know, it looks strong and I like it.
Q. Did you have any input in this?
KEI NISHIKORI: No. They chose. They chose the color.
Q. Obviously you have already beaten Novak here, so what do you remember from that match in 2014? What can you take from that if it is him that you play?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, I forgot about it (smiling). Yeah, always have good memory here. It was, you know, tough battle against Novak. Yeah, for sure it's gonna give me good confidence, even though I wasn't remember.
You know, maybe I will try to, you know, watch the match again, if he wins, and get more confidence.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #180 at 2018-09-05 23:30:00 GMT