Kei Nishikori, who has been sidelined since August with a persistent wrist injury, has been forced to pull out of the Australian Open. The announcement came just days after the Japanese superstar pulled out of the season-opening Brisbane and Sydney International tournaments.
Nishikori announced his decision to withdraw from the first Grand Slam of the year through his social media app. In his message Nishikori said, “I am very sorry to announce that I will miss the Aussie Open this year. The Aussie Open is my favourite Slam…it’s my ‘home’ Slam…it’s the Slam that takes incredible care of the players and their teams…and it hurts that I will have to miss it this year. My rehab is going well but I am not ready 100 per cent to come back yet in best of five set matches.” (His social media app is keisapp.com, but the actual message requires a login to see.)
The Japanese No. 1’s absence from last years US Open ended his run of 21 consecutive Grand Slam appearances. Nishikori, who has had great success at the Australian Open–reaching the quarter finals on three separate occasions–will be extremely disappointed that he cannot contend for the 2018 Australian Open title.
Nishikori is the first big name to officially pull out of the 2018 Australian Open. However, he is not expected to be the last. Other superstars including Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Nick Kyrgios are all still battling niggling injuries, which may prevent them from competing at this year’s Australian Open. Djokovic has already stated that he will make a decision about competing at the Australian Open after he plays in the Tie Break Tens exhibition in Melbourne next week.
Nishikori reached the fourth round of the Australian Open last year, and this year’s absence will cause his ranking to tumble even further. He is currently World No. 22.
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