Four-time Australian Open quarter-finalist Kei Nishikori has withdrawn from the season-opening grand slam, citing an elbow injury.
The Japanese world No.13 told Tennis Australia he’d be pulling the pin on the Melbourne Park event as well as the ATP Cup, the new international men’s team event starting in Sydney, Perth and Brisbane from Friday.
Nishikori has not played since a third-round loss to Australia’s Alex de Minaur at the US Open in September, requiring minor elbow surgery in the off-season.
“Today, together with my team, we have made this decision as I am still not 100 per cent ready (or) healthy to compete at the highest level,” Nishikori said.
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“This decision was not taken lightly as Australia is one of my favourite places to compete.
“Together with my team I will keep working hard to be back on court as soon as possible. Thanks for all the support.”
Nishikori, who reached a career-high rank of No.4 in 2015, made the last eight at the Australian Open in 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2019 and has a 29-7 record at Melbourne Park.
He made the US Open final in 2014.
Britain’s Andy Murray had announced his withdrawal from the Australian summer of tennis on Sunday.
The three-time grand slam winner said he’d experienced a setback in his recovery from injury and as a precaution would not be coming to Australia. “I was excited about coming back to Australia and giving my best, and that makes this even more disappointing for me,” Murray said.
I know that as a professional footballer, I have a responsibility to carry myself in an appropriate manner. Yesterday I didn’t do that. I hope everyone will forgive me for it.”
Yoshihito Nishioka will take Nishikori´s place as Japan’s top-ranked player for the ATP Cup which starts on Friday. They face Spain, Georgia and Uruguay in Group B in Perth. The Australian Open starts on Jan. 20.