"Hello everyone, today I have some bad news. This morning, while I was still in Florida, I took the test and tested positive for Covid-19. I will have to withdraw from the Cincinnati tournament because of this news. Next Friday me and the my team will do the test again and at that point I will be able to give further updates.
I feel fine and have very few symptoms but obviously I will be in complete isolation to safeguard everyone's safety. We were planning to fly to New York tomorrow but now we will stay in Florida." With these words Kei Nishikori announced to the world the positivity to Covid-19 a few days ago.
An announcement that has certainly shaken the player first of all, who has lived the last two seasons more as a supporting actor than as a protagonist. Injuries have affected his attendance and performances in recent months, even in the last two years, full of physical problems.
From 2016 onwards Kei won only one title last year in Brisbane against Daniil Medvedev. In the middle, six finals lost, a sign that the Japanese still had the chance to win other titles, despite physical problems: Basel, Buenos Aires, Brsibane, Monte-Carlo, Tokyo and Vienna.
At 31, Nishikori is trying to get competitive again in the Grand Slam tournaments, but the chance to see the Japanese at the US Open has been wrecked.
What future for Kei Nishikori?
In 2020 prior to the pandemic Nishikori he had withdrawn from both the ATP Cup and the Australian Open, as well as tournaments such as the New York Open and the Delray Beach tournament.
In 2019 the former US Open 2014 finalist fell in Flushing Meadows in the second round against compatriot Yoshihito Nishioka. But what is not clear is the future at the highest levels. Nishikori's last swab was negative, so theoretically he could have played the US Open, but as he himself explained, it would have been impossible as he does not yet have the training and stamina required to sustain physical and psychological effort such as a Grand Slam.
. Kei does not benefit from an official match from the 2019 US Open, due to a serious injury to his right arm that undermined his physical condition in the first part of 2020, until the lockdown. Maybe we could see him on lcay-courts in early autumn, between Rome and the French Open, if his physical condition improves, otherwise he could play a few more tournaments before the end of the year, or do like Roger Federer and return directly for the Australian.
Open 2021. The success of Nishikori's tennis depends on his physical condition and his footwork, which bears the weight of his game: he will probably wait to get back completely in shape before going down again on the court. It would be a wise decision.