December 30, 2019 / 2:51 PM / 2 months ago

Nishikori out of Australian Open and ATP Cup with elbow injury

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 10, 2019 Japan's Kei Nishikori in action during his quarter final match against Switzerland's Roger Federer REUTERS/Tony O'Brien

(Reuters) - World number 13 Kei Nishikori has pulled out of next month’s Australian Open as he is yet to fully recover from right elbow surgery, tournament organisers announced on Monday.

The 30-year-old Japanese, who has not played since losing to Alex de Minaur in the third round of the U.S. Open and underwent minor elbow surgery in October, will also miss the inaugural ATP Cup team event in Australia.

"Today, together with my team, we have made this decision as I'm still not 100% ready (or) healthy to compete at the highest level," Nishikori said in a statement here

“This decision was not taken lightly as Australia is one of my favourite places to compete. Together with my team I will keep working hard to be back on court as soon as possible. Thanks for all the support.”

Nishikori is the latest high-profile men’s player to pull out of the season’s first Grand Slam following the withdrawal of Briton Andy Murray on Saturday.

Yoshihito Nishioka replaces Nishikori as Japan’s top-ranked player for the ATP Cup which begins on Friday. They face Spain, Georgia and Uruguay in Group B in Perth.

The Australian Open begins on Jan. 20.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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