Kei Nishikori made an announcement on today stating that he and his long-time coach Dante Bottini are parting ways. The duo concluded a successful nine-year partnership since 2011.
A Successful Partnership Comes to an End
Kei Nishikori and Dante Bottini first started working together in 2011 and clicked immediately. While Nishikori always had the potential to be among the top players in the world, Bottni definitely helped him to focus and channel this potential once they started working together.
The Japanese quickly improved many aspects of his game and steadily started to rise in the rankings. Having started the 2011 season at world No. 98, he finished it at No. 25. He also earned his career-best ranking of No. 4 under Bottini.
The pair managed to win 12 ATP titles while working together, which is a wonderful tally, especially keeping in mind how difficult it is to win titles in the current era (read the Big Three).
Nishikori came quite close to a Grand Slam title as well at the 2014 US Open, where he lost to Marin Cilic in the final. All in all, the pair made for a very competitive team and managed to stay at the top of the game. The Japanese player has suffered a dip in the past two years, but that was mostly due to the injury problems he has faced.
A New Beginning After Nine Years
Nishikori announced today via Twitter about his split with Bottini. He expressed his gratitude towards his former coach and credited him for the work and contribution he made to his game, but iterated that he now needed a “new voice”, moving forward.
Bottini too had his say on the matter after the announcement was officially made. He talked about how the duo spent amazing times on the court in the last nine years. He also earnestly expressed how good a person Nishikori is and wished him and his team the best going forward.
“I don’t have any doubts that he will be competing at a high level and having great success as always. I wish him and his team the very best.”
The next question on everyone’s mind is who will replace Bottini as the head coach for the Japanese. However, Nishikori is yet to announce any new development on the matter; could be he is still on the look out for someone new.