Tokyo: Kei Nishikori admitted he feared injury had ended his career before he bounced back from surgery and a plunge down the rankings to win his second career title in historic fashion at the Japan Open.
After his fabulous 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 6-0 win over huge-serving Milos Raonic, which made him the ATP event's first home winner, Nishikori, 22, recalled the dark days of 2009 when he missed most of the season with right elbow surgery.
"I wondered if I could continue to play. My ranking went down to over 100. But every player has to cope with an injury. I just want to keep myself healthy," said the world number 17.