Tennis: Kei Nishikori follows Andy Murray out of Australian Open and ATP Cup, citing elbow injury

Japan's Kei Nishikori said he is still not 100 per cent ready or healthy to compete at the highest level.
Japan's Kei Nishikori said he is still not 100 per cent ready or healthy to compete at the highest level.PHOTO: AFP

MELBOURNE (AP) - A day after Andy Murray put his Grand Slam comeback on hold, Japan's Kei Nishikori has become the latest high-profile tennis player to withdraw from next month's Australian Open, citing a right elbow injury.

Tennis Australia issued a statement on Monday (Dec 30) saying the 30-year-old had withdrawn from the season-opening major event at Melbourne Park and from the ATP Cup, a new international men's team event which starts next week and will be played in Sydney, Perth and Brisbane.

The world No. 13, who has not played since a third-round loss to Australia's Alex de Minaur at the US Open, required 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.

"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, is a four-time Australian Open quarter-finalist (2012, 2015, 2016, 2019) with a 29-7 record at Melbourne Park. He reached his only Grand Slam final at the US Open in 2014, losing to Marin Cilic in straight sets.

Murray, a three-time Grand Slam winner, announced on Sunday that he had experienced a "setback" in his recovery from injury and as a precaution would not be coming to Australia.