World no. 22, Kei Nishikori has announced his decision to withdraw from this month’s Australian Open to continue his rehabilitation following a long-term injury.
The Japanese suffered a wrist problem in August last year, which included a torn tendon, and it has kept him out of action ever since.
The 28-year-old, however, hoped to be back in time for the first Grand Slam of the year, which starts on January 15, but has decided he is not yet ready for the rigours of five-set matches.
“I am very sorry to announce that I will miss the Aussie Open this year,” Nishikori posted on his app.
“The Aussie Open is my favourite Slam…it’s my ‘home’ Slam…it’s the Slam that takes incredible care of the players and their teams….and it hurts that I will have to miss it this year.
“My rehab is going well but I am just not ready 100 per cent to come back yet in best of five set matches,” the Japanese added.
He is now he first man to confirm his withdrawal from this month’s tournament, with doubts remaining about a host of other big names.
World no. 1, Rafael Nadal is recovering from a knee injury, while 12-time Grand Slam champion, Novak Djokovic has an elbow issue; British no. 1, Andy Murray continues to struggle with a long-term hip problem, and 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka is also battling to regain full fitness.