Tennis: Australian Open hit by another injury withdrawal in Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori has not played competitively since last August after suffering a torn tendon in his right wrist during a practice session.
Kei Nishikori has not played competitively since last August after suffering a torn tendon in his right wrist during a practice session.PHOTO: AFP

MELBOURNE (AFP) - Injured Japanese star Kei Nishikori pulled out of the Australian Open on Thursday (Jan 4).

The Asian No. 1 Nishikori has not played competitively since last August after suffering a torn tendon in his right wrist during a practice session at Cincinnati.

He said he still wasn't ready for a gruelling Grand Slam campaign.

"I am very sorry to announce that I will miss the Aussie Open this year," he said on his website of the opening major of the year, starting in Melbourne on Jan 15.

"The Aussie Open is my favourite Slam... it's my 'home' Slam," he added.

"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 just not ready 100 per cent to come back yet in best of five set matches."

The writing was on the wall for Nishikori, who also withdrew from the Brisbane International.

The 28-year-old, who reached a career-high world No. 4 in 2015, said in November he had chosen rehabilitation over surgery to repair the damage and was targeting a return to action in Australia.

His no-show is a major blow for the popular Japanese player, who concluded his 2017 season with a 30-13 match record.

The winner of 11 ATP Tour titles, he made the fourth round of the Australian Open last year, losing in five sets to eventual champion and world No. 2 Roger Federer.