Congratulations to Kei Nishikori, winner of The BrandLaureate International Brand Personality award for winning Japan’s first Olympic tennis medal in almost a century. The 26-year-old became the first player to win a medal for Japan since Ichiya Kumagai won the silver at the 1920 Antwerp Games.
He captured bronze against Rafael Nadal, in men’s singles tennis at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Sunday, defeating the formerBeijing Games champion from Spain 6-2, 6-7 (1-7), 6-3.
When the fierce 2 hour 49 minute match ended, Nishikori raised his arms aloft with his eyes closed. He appeared overcome with emotion for securing Japan’s first Olympic tennis medal in nearly a century.
“I squeezed out the energy to win the match. I’m relieved,” said Nishikori.
Nadal, the 2008 singles champion in Beijing, was playing his 11th match in Rio. But the 30-year-old did not go down meekly, fighting back from 2-5 down in the second set to push the play-off into a decider.
Before their Sunday match, Nadal had a 9-1 career edge over Nishikori, including two wins in a row this season.
The Spanish great won the doubles gold with Marc Lopez on Friday and then lost an epic three-hour singles semi-final to world number 141 Juan Martin del Potro on Saturday.
Kei Nishikori, born 29 December 1989) is a Japanese professional tennis player, currently ranked world No. 7 by the Association of Tennis Professionals. He is the only male Japanese tennis player ever to be ranked inside the top 10 in ATP Singles Ranking.
He began playing tennis at the age of five and qualified for his first ATP main draw event at the Countrywide Classic in Los Angeles at the age of 17.
Nishikori was named ATP Newcomer of the Year in 2008. He has won 11 singles titles and was runner-up at the 2014 US Open, making him the first-ever male player from an Asian country to reach a Grand Slam singles final.
He also became the first man from Asia to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals and reached the semi-finals in 2014. He first reached his career-high singles ranking of world No. 4 in March 2015.
- AFP: http://www.france24.com/en/20160814-nishikori-beats-nadal-ends-japans-96-year-wait
- The Japan News: http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003149200
- Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kei_Nishikori