Widely recognized as one of the best conditioned athletes on the ATP World Tour, Kei Nishikori endures daunting workouts at IMG Academy throughout the offseason to prepare for the start of the year.
His preparation helped propel him to a career-high ranking of No. 24 in 2011, a year which included Nishikori defeating world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
Matt Fitzgerald recently featured Nishikori and his offseason workouts for ATPWorldTour.com:
How much of an impact do you believe your level of endurance contributed to your rise in 2011?It's hard to say because I think it's something I need to have. I'm not a big guy so I have to get as many balls back as possible to win the points. So having good endurance is important. It's something I've been working on improving this off-season too.
What area of fitness do you think you need to work on most and how do you plan on addressing this?
I think I need to get my entire body bigger in terms of strength. But I also need to have better balance when players are moving me side-to-side as I'm often on the run.
What makes the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy a good training base?
A lot of things. I can concentrate on just tennis here. Also, a lot of top players come down, especially now during the off-season, which allows us to train with a number of guys. There are also tons of great coaches here. It's nice to be able to play tennis and train, and sleep. It's not a situation we get to be in often.