Former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori will not compete in New York this year despite the first negative coronavirus test. The Japanese has defeated the virus, but he doesn't feel comfortable competing in the best-of-five sets straight away, taking more time to practice and hoping to make a return in Kitzbuhel, Rome and Hamburg on clay.
Staying in Florida before the New York trip, Nishikori had been positive on the coronavirus twice before today's first negative test, feeling no severe symptoms and hoping to get back to the court as soon as possible.
Struggling with injuries, Kei had to finish the previous season outside the top-10 for the second time in three years, staying away from the court since the last year's US Open when he lost to Alex de Minaur in the third round.
Struggling with an arm and elbow injuries, Kei underwent surgery on October 22, working on his comeback and having to stay at home since March like all the other players due to the coronavirus. Nishikori had remained in the top-10 until the end of October, kicking off the 2019 season with Brisbane's title before retiring in the quarter-final at the Australian Open against Novak Djokovic.
He was the semi-finalist in Rotterdam in 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 win a match in Montreal and Cincinnati, heading to New York with low confidence.
Despite testing negative for the coronavirus, Kei Nishikori will skip US Open.
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 encounter so far.
Thus, Kei has become another big name on the US Open's absence list, joining Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Gael Monfils, Fabio Fognini and Stan Wawrinka. His best result in New York came six years ago, beating Novak Djokovic in the semis before Marin Cilic halted him in the title clash.
"I am happy to announce that I tested negative for Covid. I will slowly pick up my practice schedule tomorrow. Having said that, together with my team, I have decided to skip the US Open this year. After such a long break, I feel that returning in the best-of-five sets encounters is not smart until I am fully ready to do so. It's disappointing as I love the US Open and have great memories," Kei Nishikori said.