Japanese tennis sensation Yoshihito Nishioka, known for his strategic prowess and agility on the court, is gearing up for the Huafa Properties Zhuhai Championships, where he will take center stage as the eighth seed. His impressive strategic approach to the game proved highly successful in the first half of this season, earning him a spot in the Top 20 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
Standing out in a sport dominated by power players, Nishioka's left-handed finesse and ability to control rallies by altering tempo and trajectory make him a captivating player to watch. He emphasized the need for meticulous planning before each match, stating, "I don't play with power, so I have to think about how to play my points and always have to make big plans as to how to beat my opponents before I step onto the court." Nishioka's career took a significant step forward when he reached the Round of 16 at both the Australian Open and the French Open, achieving a career-high ranking of 24 in June.
However, the increased expectations began to weigh on him, leading to a slump in his performance. Reflecting on this period, he admitted, "I started to feel more pressure because I had to keep the seeding, keep the ranking.
I was thinking too much. I started to feel that pressure."
Homecoming Triumph in China
The Asian tennis standout is excited about competing on home turf in the Huafa Properties Zhuhai Championships, as he has previously achieved some of his best results on the ATP Tour in China.
Notably, he secured his maiden ATP Tour title in Shenzhen in 2018 and clinched victory in Seoul last year, defeating then-World No. 2 Casper Ruud on his way to the championship. This tournament marks the return of top-level tennis to China after a hiatus, and Nishioka is relishing the opportunity to play in front of his home fans.
He emphasized, "It is always good to come back for the Asian Swing, and it is the first time the ATP Tour events are back in China after COVID, so I really am very excited to be able to play here." Nishioka faces a challenging opening-round match against French player Terence Atmane, who recently claimed an ATP Tour Challenger title in Guangzhou.
However, Nishioka is feeling confident on the hard courts at the Hengqin International Tennis Center, which hosts the Huafa Properties Zhuhai Championships. As he prepares to showcase his tactical brilliance and finesse on the court once again, Nishioka hopes to make a strong comeback and continue his ascent in the world of professional tennis.