Nishikori Confirms 2024 Australian Open Absence As Injury Ravages Comeback Plans

Nishikori Confirms 2024 Australian Open Absence As Injury Ravages Comeback Plans

by Nurein Ahmed

Kei Nishikori won't play in the 2024 Australian Open as he reckons he won't be fit ahead of schedule and will target a February or March return.

It is tough to pick another player who has juggled an injury crisis quite like Nishikori in the past few years. Since the start of the 2020 season, Nishikori has played just 62 matches across all competitions, and it appears he hasn't recovered from his latest injury to play next month's Australian Open.

The Japanese tennis star decided to shut down his 2023 campaign in less than two months from his original return when he he made history at the Palmas del Mar Challenger. He only played four tournaments and got a knee injury in Atlanta at the end of July.

Nishikori played the tournament through pain, which became unbearable during his quarterfinal loss to Taylor Fritz. He hasn't been seen since then until he decided to end his short-lived comeback season prematurely despite holding hope of playing Challenger events during the close season.

Recently, he gave an update on when he intends to return after deciding to skip the 2024 Australian Open in January. He believes the Melbourne Slam will come too soon and will focus on getting match-fit by February. As is his norm, he will aim to play in Challenger tournaments in the United States before immersing himself in the higher tiers of the ATP Tour.

"Think I won't be ready in time for the Australian Open. Now my goal is to play Challengers in the US and then to play Indian Wells or Miami. I want to be back in February or March, I've started seeing light at the end of the tunnel."

Nishikori's statement via Asahi Sports

Nishikori missed the 2022 season due to a serious hip malady that needed an intervention of a complicated surgical procedure in which the bones were trimmed. The same operation was done on his elbow, which bothered him for many years. He has run out of luck as the injury torment struck again.


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