'I did not feel less than others, ' said the 36-year-old. 'I knew that in some bad moments they were going through, I could give myself a shot.
Along with Juan Martin delPotro, the Japanese star was tipped to be one of the guys that would eventually break the stranglehold that Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray had on the men's game for so long. "Five months ago, if you told me that, I would be - I always believe in myself, but it was highly improbable at that time considering my ranking and the way I played and felt on the court". "For me, if they're chasing me and my accomplishments then what else could I ask for?" He has chased only a few tennis records with genuine intent, including the men's mark for Grand Slam singles titles, which Pete Sampras once held with 14 and which Federer now owns with 20. At this stage, Federer would be delighted simply to get to 100, which would make him the second man in the 50-year Open era to reach triple figures in singles titles. He reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Toronto, and won his first title in Stockholm, as well as reached the fourth round at Wimbledon.
John Isner, like Anderson, will also be making his debut at the tournament. Isner is set to end the season inside the top-10 for the first time irrespective of the results in London. Thiem has recorded two wins in two editions so far. Bulgarian Dimitrov, who climbed to a career-high No. 3 after winning in London past year, hasn't even made it, slipping to No. 19 in the world. Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic, the players expected to follow in the footsteps of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, have shown no inclination to do so. "These guys sort of delete a lot Grand Slam winners by being a bit better and breaking their confidence".
"It is a great success here and I personally have had phenomenal success so I should be the last one talking about moving it anywhere because I enjoy it". The pair have had a successful year on Tour, having won at Marseille and finishing runner-up at four other tournaments (Wimbledon, 's-Hertogenbosch, Toronto and Tokyo).
Two recent defeats to Federer will be fresh in Nishikori's mind but he did compete well in their Shanghai and Paris matches so he certainly has what it takes to test the six-time champion.