Kei Nishikori’s coach Michael Chang feels confident ahead of the Japanese player’s quarter-final match against Rafael Nadal in the French Open. Nishikori played a nearly four-hour match against Benoit Paire in the fourth round but Chang said: “With Kei, you take advantage of the strengths that you have, which is his ability to hit great shots.
Kei is probably one of the most talented players out here. He knows how to play and he’s beaten the best players in the world”. Chang also recalled the underarm serve he hit against Ivan Lendl in the 1989 French Open: “It literally only crossed my mind for one or two seconds and that was it.
I felt like I was losing my serve and I was about to lose my serve again. I couldn’t serve my first serves, so I felt like I needed to try something different to try and win points. It’s the only time I’ve ever done it, ever in my entire career.
It’s part of the history I think here in Paris at the French Open. My match with Ivan is a match that is difficult to describe. It was an incredible match. It’s a story you can tell your children before they go to sleep.
Most of those stories are not true, but this one happened to be true. “Back then, you didn’t have guys returning so far, so deep. Rafa (Nadal) is so far back, Dominic (Thiem) is far back, (Daniil) Medvedev is so far back.
So the guys are starting to go ‘Well, if the players are willing to go that far back, what’s the good shot to hit against them, a drop shot. So why don’t I do that on my serve?’ Bublik did it three times against Dominic and I think he won two of the three.
But if they’re 15 feet behind the baseline, I think that does warrant a thought of how effective that serve can be. If you hit it well, it can be really effective”.