"This man is never gonna play a professional match ever again" - Tennis fans react as Kei Nishikori's comeback gets delayed with Winston-Salem withdrawal

Tennis fans react to Kei Nishikori's delayed comeback
Tennis fans react to Kei Nishikori's delayed comeback
Aayush Majumdar

Kei Nishikori's fans will have to wait longer for his return to the ATP tour as the Japanese superstar has withdrawn from the Winston-Salem Open.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 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.

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.
this man is never gonna play a professional match ever again istg…
I worry about [email protected]😥…

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.
😭😭😭😭Please take your time and rehabilitate slowly.…

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.

The story of his career…
@WSOpen Oh cmonnn i couldnt wait to watch him
Nop! It’s not returnable. You must play, sir. などと言ってみたいものです。せっかく友達と超長距離運転計画してたのにーい。ノースカロライナ旅行行くはずだったのに〜。躍動する圭観るはずだったのに〜。全米も無理かな。楽天はどうか!🙏…
Somewhat expected given that his earlier withdrawals from Atlanta and Washington. Let's hope he's fully fit by the time Tokyo comes around 🙏…
@josemorgado Kei is one of the playerslike Murray, who gave me the love for the game. Remembering him playing Murray in the US. Or playing him Careno Busta. When healthy his game was some kind if art form.

Kei Nishikori aims for a Top-10 return after making his comeback

2021 US Open - Day 6
2021 US Open - Day 6

Kei Nishikori recently stated that he has big goals from the next phase of his tennis career. Despite his recent fitness issues and a long period of inactivity on tour, Nishikori aims to find his best form sooner rather than later.

Speaking during a press conference in June this year, the Japanese player laid out his comeback plans, the key to which is getting back inside the top-10 so he can avoid facing the likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the early rounds.

"First of all, I want to return to the ranking so far. First, I still have some goals so that I can return to the top 10, but eventually I will return to that position."
"So that I can fight in the second half of the tournament instead of the current (Rafael) Nadal or (Novak) Djokovic in the first round. It is a big feeling that I want to return to that place again," Nishikori said on the same.

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.

Edited by Keshav Gopalan


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