After the five-time champion Roger Federer, Kevin Anderson and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, former world no. 4 Kei Nishikori is the latest player who had to withdraw from the upcoming first Masters 1000 event of the season in Indian Wells.
Just a day after turning 30, the Japanese no. 1 Kei Nishikori had to skip the inaugural ATP Cup due to an ongoing right elbow injury, finishing the previous season outside the top-10 for the second time in three years and struggling with injuries that forced him to miss all the action after the US Open.
The Japanese has been sidelined since September, undergoing surgery on October 22 but still not recovering enough to get back and play. In the offseason, Nishikori added Max Mirnyi to his coaching staff but the Belarusian will have to wait to make a debut alongside Michael Chang, as Kei withdrew from the Hawaii Open in the last days of December and all the tournaments so far in 2020 as well.
Kei had stayed in the top-10 until the end of October, kicking off the 2019 campaign with the title in Brisbane before retiring in the quarter-final at the Australian Open against Novak Djokovic after passing a couple of challenging encounters en route to the last eight.
He was the semi-finalist in Rotterdam in what was his final notable result before April and Barcelona where Daniil Medvedev toppled him in the battle for the title match in a tight deciding set. The Japanese advanced into the quarter-final in Rome, Roland Garros and Wimbledon, gaining a few ranking positions but losing them quickly after competing at only five matches following the All England Club, failing to score a win in Montreal and Cincinnati and heading to New York with low confidence.
There, Kei ousted Marco Trungelliti and Bradley Klahn before losing to Alex de Minaur in four sets in what turned out to be his last match on the Tour so far. Nishikori made a debut in Indian Wells in 2008 as a qualifier, scoring only four wins in the desert before reaching the quarter-final in 2016 and 2017.
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