Hewitt: Nishikori can be a Slam contender

by: Matt Cronin February 11, 2014

AP Photo

Lleyton Hewitt says Japan’s Kei Nishikori can contend for Grand Slam titles in the future. Nishikori, ranked No. 16, lost to Hewitt earlier this year in Brisbane, but then reached the fourth round of the Australian Open. There, he lost to Rafael Nadal, 7-6, 7-5, 7-6.

"In terms of the Asian guys, obviously it's led by Nishikori at the moment and he has a very good chance in the future of being a contender at the Grand Slams," Hewitt said in a teleconference for next month's BNP Paribas Showdown in Hong Kong.

"I think he's really stepped it up in the last year or so, over five sets in the majors," Hewitt said. "So he's probably [got] the best chance [of a Slam win], I would say, at the moment. He plays really well on all surfaces as well."

Hewitt also said that he was extremely impressed by China’s Li Na, who will also play in the event.

"It's been fantastic, what she's done,” he said. “She deserved to win the Australian Open, she's been runner-up a couple of times there in the past. It's good for the tournament, especially back in Australia, knowing how hard they've worked to turn that into the Australasian Grand Slam as well. That was an important time that Li Na won this year, I think it was important for the tournament but also for the tennis in that region."

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