Kei Nishikori is reportedly targeting to make his long-awaited return during the clay season.
Nishikori, 33, hasn't played since 2021 October.
As per @aki0721 , @Lindonk says Kei is planning to come back during clay season. As I tweeted a couple of days ago, it seems like Kei is training on clay these days — 井蛙堂 (@seiadoumogera) March 9, 2023
In 2022 January, Nishikori had a hip surgery. Initially, Nishikori was hoping to be ready to return in the summer, after Wimbledon. Nishikori signed up to play a couple of tournaments in the second part of the 2022 season - but the Japanese ended up withdrawing from all of those events.
Lately, Nishikori has been practicing on clay courts and it seems that he has a new target date for return.
Sliding on clay!
Nishikori didn't want to just quit
After suffering several setbacks in the second part of the 2022 season, Nishikori admitted in one of his interviews that he thought about retirement.
Nishikori's revelation quickly made the headlines and the Japanese realized that saying that publicly was a mistake. Also, Nishikori revealed that he turned to Roger Federer for inspiration. Federer, who retired from pro tennis after the 2022 Laver Cup, was 36 when he won the 2018 Australian Open.
"I casually mentioned that I thought about retirement, but afterwards I realized it would go into headlines, I was like, oops, I blew it. It was honest feeling, so I might not be able to hide it, or I might express it to wash away my gloomy feeling, I don't know.
I've made much effort and it's a shame to bring it to naught due to injury. I'm not sure if this is the right way to say it, but I feel like I'm kinda talented and I have reached the position that not so many people can reach, that makes me feel like it's too good to give up.
If my career-high ranking were 100, I might not have thought like that, and it would be disappointing to end my career due to injury. Federer played tennis until 40, so I think I can keep playing five more years at the least and seven more years at the most," Nishikori told Asahi Sports in late 2022.
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