(Reuters) – Japan’s Kei Nishikori has withdrawn from the season-opening Brisbane International tournament as he continues to recover from a wrist injury, the event’s organisers have said.
The 27-year-old was ranked ninth in the world before sustaining the season-ending injury ahead of the Cincinnati Masters in August and has been out of action for more than four months, dropping to 22nd in the rankings.
Last month, Nishikori said he had chosen rehabilitation over surgery to repair the damage and was targeting a return in Brisbane, where he finished runner-up earlier this year, to warm up for the Australian Open.
“I am so disappointed to miss Brisbane this year. For years it’s been my first tournament of the season and I always feel so at home there…,” Nishikori was quoted as saying on the tournament’s official Twitter account.
Nishikori was among several top players who were forced to end last season early due to injury, including Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka.
U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens has also been ruled out of the women’s tournament at the Queensland Tennis Centre due to a knee injury.
“Sloane Stephens needs an extra week’s rehab on her knee, meaning she will now not play the Brisbane International. We look forward to seeing you next year instead, Sloane!,” the organisers said on Twitter.
The Brisbane International will be held from Dec. 31-Jan. 7.
(Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)