After competing at only six matches in 2020, world no. 41 Kei Nishikori is hoping to play more in the season ahead of us. Former world no. 4 and the 12-time ATP champion finished the year at Roland Garros, withdrawing from the Paris Masters and Sofia Open due to a shoulder injury to notch only two wins in 2020.
The Japanese withdraw from the new season's opening event in Delray Beach, kicking off the 2021 campaign at the ATP Cup. After that, Kei will play the Australian Open, Rotterdam, Marseille, Dubai and Miami, embracing a packed March schedule and hoping to stay injury-free.
The Japanese claimed seven titles in 2014 and 2015 and became a Major and the Masters 1000 title contender. Still, he lost ground from 2016, winning only two ATP trophies in the last five years and struggling with numerous injuries!
Competing in four ATP events in 2020, all on clay, Kei won just two matches, never feeling comfortable and not wanting to risk anything in the season's closing stages. Kei hadn't played since the US Open 2019 before making a comeback in Kitzbuhel in September, losing to Miomir Kecmanovic in three sets.
In the previous weeks, Kei had to deal with the coronavirus, working hard after that but not reaching the desired level. Struggling with arm and elbow injuries, Nishikori had to finish the 2019 season outside the top-10 for the second time in three years, playing his last match against Alex de Minaur in New York in September.
Kei underwent surgery on October 22 and worked on his comeback in Florida during the coronavirus outbreak.
Kei Nishikori will play six tournaments in the opening three months of 2021.
Nishikori remained in the top-10 until the end of October last year, kicking off the 2019 season with Brisbane's title before retiring in the quarter-final at the Australian Open against Novak Djokovic.
In Rotterdam, he was the semi-finalist in his last notable result before April, when he lost a tight Barcelona semi-final to Daniil Medvedev. The Japanese advanced into the quarter-final in Rome, Roland Garros and Wimbledon, gaining a few ranking positions but losing them quickly after embracing 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 season-ending encounter. A year later, Kei made an early exit in Kitzbuhel, beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas in Rome before suffering a loss against an 18-year-old Lorenzo Musetti in straight sets.
At Roland Garros, the Japanese took down Daniel Evans in five sets before losing to Stefano Travaglia in another marathon that proved to be his last match of the season.