Kei Nishikori trying to focus on his tennis

Kei Nishikori trying to focus on his tennis

Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori says he is trying hard not to get too distracted by outside commitments following his breakthrough year in 2014.

The 25-year-old Nishikori last year became the first Asian male to play in a Grand Slam final when he reached that round at the US Open, where he fell to Croatian Marin Cilic.

He won four titles during the year, climbed to a career-high ranking of five and qualified for the year-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London, where he reached the semi-finals.

Nishikori, speaking ahead of his first match at the season-opening Brisbane International, said there were now far more demands on his time than in previous years.

"Outside (tennis) it is really changing around me," he said.

"It`s really different, you know. A lot of media stuff, especially in Japan. I feel more attention."

While Nishikori said he was becoming more comfortable with his outside commitments, especially the Japanese ones, he said he was determined not to let it affect his tennis.

"I try to play good tennis all the time. For me, it`s always the same -- do whatever I can," he said.

Nishikori said his efforts at the US Open had given him enormous belief in his own abilities.

"I have more confidence than before, especially because I won two tournaments after the US Open and played great in London too," he said. 

"So I had a great season last year. I had a great preparation in Florida this off-season.

"I think I am doing really well. I think the first couple of tournaments of the year are very important for me to gain a little more confidence and stay at this ranking all the time."

Nishikori said his 2015 goals would be similar to those from last year.

"You know, do well in the Grand Slams, maybe to get to semis or final if I can," he said.

"Maybe to win a Masters (tournament)-- that`s the next goal for me."

Nishikori opens his tournament on Wednesday against American Steve Johnson.

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