TOKYO (AFP) - Japan superstar Kei Nishikori rose to fourth in Monday's new world rankings, equalling Kimiko Date-Krumm as his country's highest-ranked tennis player.
The 24-year-old, who is the top-ranked Asian-born man ever, tweeted: "Just saw the new rankings. Very proud of another step...#4 this week."
Nishikori, last year's US Open runner-up, now trails only Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal after leapfrogging Britain's Andy Murray, meaning he will avoid the top three until the semi-finals at the major tournaments.
Nishikori recently won his third successive Memphis Open, his eighth ATP Tour title.
He is fast closing in on Nadal and trails the 14-time grand slam champion by just 260 ranking points.
China's Li Na blazed a trail for Asian tennis players by reaching No. 2 in the women's WTA rankings last year after winning the Australian Open, capping a remarkable career in which she also captured the 2011 French Open.
She retired seven months later with knee trouble.