Melbourne: Kei Nishikori welcomed the emergence of Naomi Osaka on Friday after the non Japanese-speaking teenager announced herself as Japan's latest tennis star at the Australian Open.
Nishikori said the dual US-Japanese passport-holder, who is half-Haitian and has lived most of her life in the United States, had a promising future representing her mother's country.
The 18-year-old qualifier is one of the break-out stars at the season's first major after beating Donna Vekic and 18th seed Elina Svitolina to reach the third round on her Grand Slam debut.
"It's pretty good for Japan tennis, I guess," said seventh-ranked Nishikori, after beating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez to reach the fourth round at Melbourne Park.
"Actually, I've only seen her play a few times, but from what I've seen she's doing great. She's still young. She has a lot of power."
Osaka, who plays two-time champion Victoria Azarenka on Saturday, is the only Japanese player left in the women's draw.
The teenager, who is studying Japanese and ranked 127th in the world, gave a deep bow after her win against Svitolina to the crowd of Japanese fans watching her play.
"She has I think a very bright future in her career. Yeah, I'd like to see a little more, watch her play her match," Nishikori said....