LONDON (Reuters) - World number two Rafael Nadal predicted a big future for Japanese teenager Kei Nishikori on Thursday after surviving a scare at Queen’s Club.
French Open champion Nadal was given a tough time by the 18-year-old before winning their third round clash 6-4 3-6 6-3.
“He plays very easy, he reads the game very well and moves well,” the Spaniard told reporters at the traditional pre-Wimbledon event where he is bidding for his first grasscourt title.
“He is very, very good. he is going to be top 10 for sure, top five. I am 100 percent sure. He’s a very talented player.
“When he has time on his forehand he will kill you every time. He needs to improve a few little things but he’s going to be very good.”
Nishikori, who now lives in Florida, became the first Japanese player to win an ATP tournament for 16 years in February when he beat James Blake in Delray Beach and he is winning plenty of admirers.
He has even developed a signature shot, a both-feet-off-the-ground forehand, that had the Queen’s Club fans in raptures on Thursday.
“Just give him one more year,” added Nadal. “I think he has everything.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Alan Baldwin