Nishikori ruled out of Australian Open


Japanese ace Kei Nishikori joined the lengthy injury list for the Australian Open on Thursday after confirming he has not recovered in time.

The former World No 4 said that while his rehab for a wrist injury was continuing apace, he would not be fit in time to play in Melbourne.

“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 said.

Former World No 1 Andy Murray also confirmed his Australian Open absence on Thursday, while doubts still remain over the participation of Rafael Nadal (knee), Novak Djokovic (elbow) and Stan Wawrinka (knee).

Djokovic, Wawrinka and Nadal have all committed to playing the Tie Break Tens at Melbourne Park next Wednesday, however, and are hopeful of making a proper return at the Australian Open.

Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said he was confident that Djokovic, who was forced to pull out of last week’s exhibition event in Dubai and this week’s Qatar Open, will be ready in time for Melbourne.

“I spoke to Novak and he’s already got every hour of the day planned between when he arrives and the start of the Open, so he’ll be ready,” Tiley said.

“And the same thing with Rafa, who’s on his way down here now, and he’ll be ready. Not dissimilar to where we were in 2017. We’ve got 128 men and 128 women.”

A question remark also still remains over new mom Serena Williams, who lost to Jelena Ostapenko in Dubai as she made her return in an exhibition match last week.

“I’m in touch every day with her and with her management team. She wants desperately to be here,” Tiley said.

“I still believe she will be. She has made it very clear to me that this is her favourite event and that’s why she’ll do everything she possibly can to be here.

“Her whole life evolves around getting ready for the Australian Open right now. She wants to be here and when Serena wants something she normally gets it. So we hope that that is the case.”