Kei Nishikori’s fans will have to wait longer for his return to the ATP tour as the Japanese superstar has withdrawn from the Winston-Salem Open. Nishikori returned the wildcard he received for the tournament in North Carolina just like he did at the Atlanta Open and the Citi Open, much to the disappointment of tennis fans.
The Winston-Salem Open is scheduled to be held from August 21-27, the week before the 2022 US Open kicks off. Kei Nishikori’s withdrawal from the event puts his participation in him at the Grand Slam in New York City in serious doubt. The Japanese star could next be seen on the court at the Japan Open in early October, just a few days shy of a year since his last tournament of him.
The former World No. 4 was set to play at last week’s Atlanta Open before returning his wildcard. Nishikori has not played an ATP event since the 2021 Indian Wells Masters in the second week of October and lost to Dan Evans in the second round back.
Nishikori’s continued absence from the tour due to a long recovery period after hip surgery has fans worried, some of whom fear the worst for his tennis career.
“This man is never gonna play a professional match ever again istg,” one fan wrote on Twitter, reacting to Kei Nishikori’s Winston-Salem withdrawal.
The 32-year-old’s withdrawal from the Winston-Salem Open has not been a far-fetched possibility ever since his earlier withdrawals before the start of the Atlanta Open and the ongoing Citi Open in Washington DC. Nishikori, who is currently ranked No. 160, could drop out of the ATP rankings if he fails to make it to the 2022 US Open.
Earlier this year, Nishikori had said in a statement that he hoped to be fit for the US Open but was quite keen and positive about a comeback at the Japan Open, his home ATP event.
“Please take your time and rehabilitate slowly,” another fan expressed.
Here are a few more reactions from fans as Kei Nishikori’s comeback suffers another big blow with his withdrawal from the Winston-Salem Open.
Kei Nishikori aims for a Top-10 return after making his comeback
A couple of months ago, Nishikori posted an update on his return to training, where he was seen hitting a few forehands and backhands in a session at the IMG Academy. His last appearance at a Grand Slam came at the 2021 US Open, where he bowed out in the third round after a four-set thriller against Djokovic.