Thursday January 4, 2018
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Kei Nishikori has been sidelined since August and said he still could not handle playing best-of-five-set matches. — Reuters picKei Nishikori has been sidelined since August and said he still could not handle playing best-of-five-set matches. — Reuters picMELBOURNE, Jan 4 ― Japan's Kei Nishikori has pulled out of this month's Australian Open as he continues to recover from a wrist injury, the world number 22 said yesterday.

The former US Open finalist, who last year reached the fourth round of the first grand slam of the season in Melbourne, has been sidelined since August and said he still could not handle playing best-of-five-set matches.

“The Aussie Open is my favourite slam... it's my 'home' slam ... and it hurts that I will have to miss it this year,” Nishikori, 28, said in a statement posted on his website.

“My rehab is going well but I am just not ready 100 per cent to come back yet in best-of-five-set matches.”

Nishikori was ninth in the world rankings before sustaining a season-ending wrist injury ahead of the Cincinnati Masters last August.

He had been hoping to make his return at the season-opening Brisbane International, where he was runner-up in 2017, but withdrew from that event 11 days ago.

Nishikori became the first Japanese man to reach a grand slam final at the 2014 US Open but did not compete at Flushing Meadows last year because of his injury.

The Australian Open will be played from January 15-28. ― Reuters

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