Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori will start hitting regular tennis balls in two or three weeks as he hopes be ready in time for the Australian Open but insist he won't rush his comeback. The 29-year-old last played at the US Open, where he was beaten in the third round by rising Australian star Alex de Minaur.
Nishikori, ranked at No. 13 in the world, pulled out of the Asian swing after the US Open to treat an elbow injury but hoped to return to action in Europe. Unfortunately, Nishikori's rehab didn't go as planned and he decided to call it a season and undergo surgery on his right elbow in October.
Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner-up, started hitting sponge balls a couple of days ago. "It's going well. I will start hitting usual balls in two or three weeks. Hope to play the Australian Open, but I'll never push myself too hard for that," Nishikori said, per Seiadoumogera/Twitter.
Former world No. 4 Nishikori will need to enter the new season fully healthy and ready if he wants to fulfill his longtime goal of winning a Grand Slam next year.