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Nishikori's Dream: I Wanted To Be a Penguin

By Richard Pagliaro

Tennis champions have spanned the animal kingdom.

Hall of Famer Bud Collins dubbed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario "The Barcelona Bumble Bee." Argentinean powerhouse Guillermo Vilas was known as the "Bull of the Pampas" and Hamburg Masters champion Albert Portas earned the nickname "Drop Shot Dragon" for his skill dispensing stinging droppers.

More: Halep Won't Defend Dubai

Kei Nishikori's animal spirit goes deeper. Nishikori revealed his childhood dream: "I wanted to be a penguin."

The former US Open finalist didn't dream of playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins or dressing up as Batman's nemesis The Penguin.

No, Kei dreamed of growing up to be an actual penguin as he revealed to a child inquisitor at 1:12 of the ABNM AMRO World Tennis Tournament video below.

Asked his motivation for pursuing a penguin future, Nishikori replied: "I don't know. They look so cute. I just wanted to be a penguin."

The penguin revelation left former world No. 1 Andy Murray slightly stupefied and ultimately impressed.

"He wanted to be a penguin?" the two-time Olympic gold medal champion repeated. "That's a good answer. Strange, but good."

Asked the last time he cried, a candid Kei replied "last night" with Alexander Zverev sharing he shed tears after squandering a two-set lead and losing to Dominic Thiem in the US Open final.

Players also reflect on their first kiss and musical muses with Daniil Medvedev revealing he is a Marshmello head.

Photo credit: ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament