To the delight of tennis fans, Japan's Kei Nishikori has made a return to the court after a gap of six months. He has been out of action due to a hip injury he sustained in the latter part of 2021.
In January, just before the Australian Open began, Nishikori announced his withdrawal from the entire early hardcourt swing. A few days later, the former World No. 4 stated that he needed to undergo arthroscopic surgery which would keep him away for at least six months.
The last match that Nishikori played was at the 2021 Indian Wells Masters, where he lost to Britain's Dan Evans 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the Round of 64.
On Thursday, the 32-year-old posted a video on Instagram of himself hitting a few forehands and backhands at the IMG Academy.
While giving an update on his rehab in April, the Japanese vowed to recover and return to his best in time for the US Open.
"If all goes well, I might be able to play the US Open this year. I’m trying to be ready in time for the Rakuten Japan Open in October if it is held this year. I don’t think I have ten more years in my tennis career, so I want to live each day to the fullest," he siad.
Nishikori, the only Japanese player to reach the top 5 in the Open Era, attained a career-high ranking of No. 4 in 2015. At the 2014 US Open, he beat the likes of Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka to make it to the final, where he lost in straight sets to Croatia's Marin Cilic.
This is not the first time that an injury has forced Kei Nishikori to sit out a few months. A major wrist injury in 2017 kept him off the court for quite some time. He eventually had to change his style of play, altering the way he served and hit forehands. A couple of years later, Nishikori suffered an elbow problem that forced him to end his season early.
Kei Nishikori extends his contract with UNIQLO
Along with his training video, Kei Nishikori also shared the news of him extending his contract with UNIQLO.
Having been the company's global brand ambassador for 11 years, the Japanese said that he would continue to strive for greater heights.
"With UNIQLO, which we have been walking with for the past 11 years, I would like to continue aiming for even higher levels in the future. Let's continue to inspire dreams, hopes and impressions together!," Nishikori wrote.