Kei Nishikori is on the search for a new coach.
After 9 years together it has been announced via Kei’s Twitter that he and coach Dante have gone their separate ways.
Former French Open champion Michael Chang who celebrated 30 years since his triumphant win in the French capital has been a part of the team since 2014 and is still there.
Michael due to other commitments doesn’t travel throughout the year with Kei but is there for the big events.
I do think this is the right time for new direction for Kei.
I’ve said this many times that there just isn’t an improvement in my opinion and the results this year aren’t good.
Kei hasn’t played since the US Open due to injury but his performances have lacked that top performance.
He has two top twenty ranked wins this year which came against Medvedev and Dimitrov in Brisbane. This was his first tournament of the year and first title in three years!
No top 15 ranked wins and is 0/4 against others in the top 15.
I like Kei and I like what he brings. I do think the thought process and plan can be quite erratic at times. We’ve seen that serve and volley creep in more into his game and there is nothing worse to see than someone being picked off on a poor shot.
I’ve always said Kei is: “good to a point” he will get to quarter finals and semi-finals but that’s it and finding that step-up has been a question we’ve been looking for an answer with for some time.
He had his second best combined years at the majors finishing 2019 with 14 wins from the four Grand Slams but still the same problem. He has lost eight of his last ten Grand Slam quarter finals and hasn’t been back to a final since 2014 US Open.
In those eight quarter final defeat since the beginning of 2015 he has won 5 sets and lost 24 in those eight matches. 2 of those 5 sets won came at Roland Garros in 2015 when he lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in five sets.
1 set won and 6 sets lost in last two Grand Slam semi-final appearances and 1 set won and 8 sets lost in last four Masters 1000 quarter finals.
He is on course to finish the year without a top ten win for the first time since 2010 and is still in slight contention for a spot in London but will have to pull up some trees to get there now having missed the last few weeks.
For me, I think we’ve seen his best. The level from between him and the top 4 is too big to reach in my opinion and I feel these guys like Thiem, Tsitsipas and Medvedev are better players.
I’d love to be proved wrong but it is a question I’ve been asking for some time.