Nishikori was born in Matsue in Shimane Prefecture, Japan. His father, Kiyoshi, is an engineer, and his mother, Eri, is a piano teacher. He has an older sister, Reina, who graduated from college and works in Tokyo.
He began playing tennis at the age of five. He first won the All Japan Tennis Championships for Kids in 2001. He graduated from Aomori-Yamada High School, and moved to Florida to join the IMG Academy. His pastimes include football, golf, reading, and listening to music.
Nishikori won the 2004 title at the Riad 21 Tournament in Rabat, Morocco and was a quarter-finalist at the 2006 Junior French Open. He partnered with Emiliano Massa to win the 2006 Junior French Open. Nishikori won the 2007 Luxilon Cup held at the 2007 Sony Ericsson Open by defeating Michael McClune.
As a junior he compiled a 73–37 win/loss record in singles (and 53–31 in doubles), achieving a combined ranking of No. 7 in the world in July 2006.
In December 2010, it was announced that Nishikori would be coached by Brad Gilbert for the 2011 season and by Dante Bottini from the IMG Academy Gilbert has also coached Andy Murray and former world No. 1s Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick.
Since January 2014, Nishikori is coached by former world No. 2 Michael Chang. His biggest success was to reach US Open final in 2014 where he lost against the first time finalist Croatian Cilic.
Nishikori is an offensive baseline player, known for his speed and footwork around the court. His greatly improved semi-western forehand is a weapon from all areas of the court. He uses his speed and agility to wear down and out-think his opponent, and often likes to create an open court with his forehand so he can hit a backhand down the line.
In the video game Grand Slam Tennis, Nishikori is classed as an all-court player, and his special ability is his endurance.
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