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Kei Nishikori with his coach Dante Bottini on The Flying Cup, at JBR, Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied

Tennis star Kei Nishikori, who is making his debut at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on February 26, took time out before stepping into the Centre Court, to explore Dubai.

The Japanese number one tennis player took the opportunity to visit The Flying Cup in Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), playing tourist as he took in the views of the Bluewaters Island and the Ain Dubai Ferris wheel.

The tourist attraction raises to the height of a 12-story building, offering panoramic views of The Beach, JBR, Ain Dubai and Palm Jumeirah.

Nishikori was joined by his coach and it was clear that he was not scared of heights and spent time taking in the scenes.

“I’m usually OK on heights, it just depends how high. So many high buildings, I feel like all the buildings are very creative, everything is very beautiful, nice beaches, very nice,” said Dante Bottini.

Nishikori is all set to make his Dubai debut on February 26 against Benoit Paire. Before the big game, the tennis player stated: “I always wanted to come here [Dubai]. Schedule-wise it wasn’t easy, but I chose to come here. Something new. It’s fun.”

The world number 6 started 2019 on a successful note, winning in Brisbane last month. In some of the best form of his life, he has also reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and the semi-finals in Rotterdam in 2019.

“Especially this year and last year it’s been getting tougher and tougher,” he said. “Everybody can beat anybody now. Even top 50 or top 100 guys can really play. There’s no easy matches. I think everybody gets physically stronger and also they have more passion to become top 10.”

Nishikori has also endured several injuries during his career, and last year he was forced to miss the Australian season due to a recurring right wrist injury which had kept him out of the game for almost the entire second half of the 2017 season. But he turned his enforced break to his advantage.

“(When) I got injured I tried to refocus again. I felt like after my wrist injury two years ago, this is my second season of my tennis career. I really think about the way I do training, my body. I started thinking from beginning again,” he stated earlier. “Tennis, too. I changed couple things. I think it was good to have that time off, and I can able to regroup again everything. Some stuff got better. Usually it’s not easy to change something when you are healthy and play whole season. Sometimes it’s nice to have couple months off from tennis.”

And he also used that time to do things he normally would not have time for. Even if it still meant getting on a plane.

“I still travelled. I went couple place for fun,” he said. “I was in Japan, of course, to see my friends, family, relax little bit. I went Belgium for rehab. I was there for one month. It was nice. Something different. I never been there. It was fun to do something different with [a] different country.”

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Don’t miss it!

Tickets to the DDFTC are available on dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com and from the Stadium Box Office which is open daily from 9am to 9pm.