Birmingham - Kei Nishikori has vowed to
avenge one of the worst defeats of his career when the Japan star faces Great
Britain's Dan Evans in the Davis Cup.
Nishikori suffered a miserable straight
sets loss to Evans in the pair's only previous meeting in the US Open first
round in 2013.
But the 26-year-old believes he is much
improved since that painful day in New York and he expects to make amends in Friday's
second singles rubber as Japan eye a shock World Group victory over the
defending Davis Cup champions in Birmingham.
"We've both changed a lot. I've got
better the last few years," Nishikori said.
"I'm sure we both play a little bit
different. I have to change some tactics but I'll try to play my tennis.
"He played great tennis (in New York).
I think I was a little bit nervous, I don't remember much but obviously I
didn't play good tennis."
World number six Nishikori, who reached the
final in New York the following year, had been preparing to face Kyle Edmund,
but he pulled out through injury on Thursday, setting the stage for the Evans
Evans, the world number 157, has produced
some of his best tennis in Davis Cup and had set his heart on playing this
match in his home city.
The 25-year-old was a spectator at the same
venue for matches against the USA in 1999 and Sweden three years later and is
looking forward to finally getting on court in front of his home fans.
"I'm going to enjoy it. Obviously I'll
be proud to be playing in front of the Birmingham crowd. Hopefully they make a
lot of noise and have a good day," he said.
Meanwhile, Japan's Taro Daniel admits
facing world number two Andy Murray in the first singles match on Friday will
be the biggest test of his career.
While Murray has won Wimbledon and the US
Open, as well as leading Britain to Davis Cup victory last year, world number
87 Daniel has never been past the first round of a Grand Slam and is yet to win
a Tour-level title.
Daniel, whose father hails from California,
is a big fan of Led Zeppelin and prompted laughter when he said he would like
his entrance music to be their song 'Dazed and Confused'.
"I don't think I'll be too confused.
I'll be nervous but excited as well," he said.
"I can expect a certain amount of
noise, it's going to be something I've never experienced before, which is a
little scary but mostly exciting."
Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot make up the
British team and were nominated to play in the doubles rubber on Saturday,
although Andy Murray could well step in.
It is a similar scenario for Japan, who
named Yoshihito Nishioka and Yasutaka Uchiyama as their doubles pair but could
substitute in Nishikori.