Japan expects Nishikori to deliver

After becoming the first Asia-born male to reach a Grand Slam final at last year’s US Open big things are expected of the player in 2015.

Nishikori’s popularity in Japan is booming and this month he made the cover of Time Magazine and is raking in a fortune from sponsors including Uniqlo, adidas, Wilson and Tag Heuer.

The world no 5 was very committed to his tennis career from a young age and when he was 14-years-old, moved from his home town in western Shimane to train at the elite IMG academy in Florida.

Nishikori told Time: "I knew immediately I wanted to go to Florida – I would do anything for tennis."

Tennis great Andre Agassi rates the youngster highly telling Time that Nishikori was "one of the greatest shot-makers in the game" and among the few players he would pay money to see on court.

Nishikori attributes a lot of his recent success to coach Michael Chang, "He is giving me a lot of improvements and tips," Nishikori said. 

"My ranking is much higher than last year so for sure he is helping with my career, and it is just a good motivation working with him."

The Japanese star confirms that he is feeling positive going into the Australian Open but adds that he will have to work extremely hard if he hopes to lift the title.

"Winning might take some time, you know?" he told media in Brisbane last week.

"You need some luck too when you play – hopefully [it] comes one day [and] I win a Grand Slam," he added.