Kei Nishikori returns to the ATP Tour after a Challenger title

by: Kamakshi Tandon | February 04, 2018

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Kei Nishikori. (AP Photo)

Kei Nishikori returns to ATP competition with increased confidence following his victory at the Dallas Challenger.

Nishikori, who is coming back from a lengthy injury layoff, was playing his second Challenger in a row, rebounding from a first-round defeat two weeks ago to capture the $125,000 event in Dallas.

The week had been reassuring in terms of his wrist and his game,  Nishikori told local press at the event.

"My body was okay," he said. "Good to have some tough matches, and for sure it gives me a little confidence."

The 28-year-old from Japan will now be the top seed at the 250 event at Long Island, having enjoyed frequent success at its previous location in Memphis.

Nishikori decided to drop down to the Challenger level rather than come back at the Australian Open, looking to move gradually back into competition.

"I think he has been getting better every day," said Michael Chang, who coaches Nishikori, speaking to the ATP website.

Their initial goal, he noted, is not to collect wins but for Nishikori to "play the way he wants to play, the way that got him to beat the best players in the world, the way that got him to No. 4 in the ATP rankings."

Nishikori joins several other top names, including Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, and Stanislas Wawrinka, who have recently been sidelined with injury issues.

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