MILOS RAONIC AND KEI NISHIKORI RETURN TO BRISBANE

MILOS RAONIC AND KEI NISHIKORI RETURN TO BRISBANE

FORMER Brisbane International champion Milos Raonic of Canada and 2017 finalist Kei Nishikori of Japan are both set to return to the Brisbane International in 2018.

Raonic, the former world number three who defeated Roger Federer in the 2016 Brisbane final, is heading back to the tournament, sponsored by Suncorp, for the fourth time.

"It's been a tournament I've always played well at and felt good about my game, so that definitely adds to the appeal of coming back year after year," Raonic says.

"As far as the tennis goes the conditions are ideal for preparing leading into Melbourne and the whole Australian swing I think it's the best way to start off alongside the best players in the world."

The 26-year-old believes Brisbane is the ideal way to start the season, both on and off the court.

"Every time I try to see something different, try to experience something different so there's a different storyline to each year. The first year I did mostly touristy things, like saw the kangaroos, but the last few years I've been seeing more around the art galleries in town," he says.

"For me it's the ideal way to start off the New Year, not only the tournament on its own, but the city itself is a fantastic place to get out of the cold and come and enjoy the warmth."

Meanwhile, 2018 will be the eighth time Nishikori has played Brisbane, a tournament he regards warmly as one of his favourite events on the calendar.

"I always enjoy the Brisbane International tournament. I always spend a great time in Brisbane there is plenty to do, good food, good location and it's a good facility," Nishikori says.

"I try to find a good restaurant every day, I spend most of the time trying to eat Japanese food and there are good Japanese restaurants, and walking around the city is also fun."

Nishikori, who fell to Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in this year's final, says his aim is to go one better in 2018.

"I hope I can make the final, but my goal is to win the tournament. It's the first tournament of the year so I'll try and have a great tournament this year."

The announcement of Raonic and Nishikori adds to a stellar men's field that is headlined by world number one Rafael Nadal of Spain, Britain's Andy Murray, top ranked Australian male Nick Kyrgios and defending champion and world number six Grigor Dimitrov.

Tournament Director Geoff Quinlan says with so many top class players, fans will be spoilt for choice come January.

"With such a quality field there will be fantastic matches at Pat Rafter Arena all week," Quinlan says.

"Both Raonic and Nishikori are former finalists here and fans are now familiar with how exciting and formidable both players are on the big stage.

"Raonic was a champion here in 2016 when he beat top seed Roger Federer, while Nishikori made the final last year and will be gunning to win his first Brisbane title."


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