Recently, I had the absolute pleasure of being invited by Wilson Tennis to meet Kei Nishikori to discuss his new tennis racquet, the Wilson Burn. If you haven’t read it already, my Wilson Burn review is posted, check it out!
Not only did I get to meet Kei Nishikori and talk about his tennis racquet, I was able to participate in the Wilson Burn Challenge, an on court challenge where you compete against the world (more bout this later).
See below for a video of Kei talking about his Wilson Burn (transcript is just after the video)
Kei Nishikori talks about his Wilson Burn
Wilson Rep: Mr. Nishikori, I’ve noticed that this year you have changed your racquet. You were playing with the Steam and now you’re playing with the Burn. How do you like the new stick?
Kei Nishikori: I really like it. I mean, you can see my results already coming, ya know. I feel more power with this, um, Burn racquet. And, uh, yeah, I feel more power and speed. Which is the goodest thing about this racquet.
Wilson: What’s the process like when you test racquets with Wilson Labs?
Nishikori: It’s always exciting to try new racquets, you know? I tried, I asked [Wilson Tennis] a couple of things to create better racquets, and I tried a couple or more 10 20 racquets. Then we gonna talk a lot and then they’re going to make the final racquet.
Wilson: So you have a new racquet this year, are you using a new string this year as well?
Nishikori: A new string? No, same string.
Wilson: And what string is that?
Nishikori: Luxilon 4G 1.25 (16L gauge) and natural [gut] on the cross.
Wilson: Why do you use those strings versus other strings?
Nishikori: I’ve been using long time actually. 4G only a couple of years, but I do same pattern; Luxilon main and natural. A couple guys do different pattern, but I like the natural cross because I like the soft feeling and I feel like I have more control and same time I have a llot of power. And that’s why I like these strings.
Wilson: You hear about some players who really are adjusting their tensions all the time, maybe different temperature they’ll play with a different tension. Do you leave your tension mainly the same or do you change it around a lot?
Nishikori: I change a lot. Usually around 52 54. But it will go up and down. Last week I went 57 59. Even it was cold in Vancouver (referring to Davis Cup against Canada) indoor but it depends on how many people are in there and humidity and also balls and the court too. You have to try a couple of times.
Wilson: Is your new racquet giving you any added confidence?
Nishikori: Yes for sure, yeah. I mean I have been playing really well with this new racquet and it gives me a lot of confidence. If you play bad first couple of tournaments, you start thinking. But I did really well, so it’s been working really well.
Wilson: Ok, great. Thank you for that. Are there any other questions?
Reporter 1: Is this 4G Rough or 4G Smooth?
Nishikori: 4G…? Smooth. Oh, I didn’t know they had Rough.
Wilson: You can try out 4G Rough if you’d like, but it sounds like 4G smooth is working for you.
Reporter 1: How many racquets do you take with you on court during any one match?
Nishikori: Usually 7 or 8, but if it’s 5 sets more than 10.
Reporter 1: How many do you go through [per match]?
Nishikori: Really maybe 5, but if it’s 2 sets maybe 3 or 4. But you have to prepare for long match.
Reporter 1: Are some of those strung at different tensions so that when you get used to the conditions?
Nishikori: Yeah it depends on what learned and if you’re not sure how many pounds you want to play I would string a couple of different tension.
Reporter 1: Who strings your racquets?
Nishikori: I usually do onsite.
Wilson: When you bring out a new string job, do you follow the same timing? Do you change every break or every 4 games?
Nishikori: Yes, usually ever new balls. 7 or 9 games.
Reporter 1: So every 9 games?
Reporter 1: So not one before like Roger [Federer]?
Reporter 1: Do you know what day you are going to start at the tournament [2015 BNP Paribas Open]?
Nishikori: I’m not sure, Friday or Saturday.
Reporter 2: Kei, has the new Burn racquet helped you improve on any specific stroke?
Nishikori: Ummmm. I mean, a little bit of every thing; I like the serve. I think the serve is much improved with this racquet, I have more speed and I feel like I get more free point or ace. I feel more confidence with my serve with this new Burn racquet.
Me: Do you feel that you are generating more spin with the Burn as opposed to the Steam?
Nishikori: Yeah I think so, yeah. But the main thing, I feel like more speed in this racquet. You know, every shot; forehand, backhand, and serve like I said. Spin too, I feel like I have been playing really well with this racquet.
Reporter 1: Which model Burn do you use?
Wilson Burn Challenge
As I mentioned above, I participated in the Wilson Burn Challenge. The Burn Challenge consists of some simple on court drills, accuracy, and speed! You are timed by way of a Sony Tennis Sensor that is connected to the Burn racquet.
The drills are as follows:
- 4 forehands (points are added for over the net and in the court)
- 4 backhands (points are added for over the net and in the court)
- Sprint cone drill
- Foot speed ladder
- Sprint cone drill
- 5 Air squats
- 5 global push-ups
- 2 serves (one in deuce side and one in ad side)
All this, as fast as you possibly can, while being accurate! I don’t have the video of my Burn Challenge, but I did complete it is 56 seconds and I was sucking wind when I finished! It’s not easy, but it’s incredibly fun!
For a burn challenge near you, check out BurnChallenge.Wilson.com and compete against me!