It wasn’t long after Kei Nishikori hit the pro tennis tour that “Project 45” was born: The goal was to reach No. 45 in the world and thus become the highest-ranked men’s Japanese player, one spot ahead of Shuzo Matsuoka. Nishikori reached that milestone this year, and with room to spare. “Shuzo Matsuoka has been a great mentor and teacher for me,” Nishikori said. “It is an honor to be able to break his record.” Nishikori is now inside the top 25, with Roger Federer recently suggesting — as Rafael Nadal did years ago — that he can move up further.