Kei Nishikori Admits Strict Quarantine Led to His Early-Exit From Australian Open 2021

Published 02/08/2021, 11:43 AM EST
Tennis – ATP Cup – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Kei Nishikori during his group stage match against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake


In a major upset, Kei Nishikori crashed out of the 2021 Australian Open in the opening round. Nishikori lost to No.15 seed Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets at the 1573 Arena. Carreno Busta appeared in sublime form, having entered the Grand Slam after winning two singles matches in the ATP Cup.

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For Nishikori, the situation turned grim as soon as he’d arrived in Melbourne in mid-January. The tennis star was among the 72 players who were placed under a hard quarantine since a few passengers on their flights had tested COVID-19 positive.

Tennis – ATP Cup – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Kei Nishikori reacts during his group stage match against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

Due to the unfortunate incident, Nishikori could not train during the two-week quarantine period, which hampered his preparations for the Australian Open. After the isolation period, Nishikori competed at the ATP but lost in both his singles matches to Daniil Medvedev and Diego Schwartzman.

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Kei Nishikori reflects on the first-round loss

During the post-match conference, a press reporter asked Nishikori whether being in a hard lockdown played any part in his first-round loss. Looking dejected, Nishikori admitted that being deprived of practice sessions for two weeks affected his performance.

However, the Japanese contended he didn’t want to make any excuses and vowed to perform at his best in the following tournaments. Nishikori revealed it took him a week post quarantine to just feel physically good again.

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“I was trying not to think about it, but now I feel a little bit yes because I didn’t play my best last week. Took almost one week to play good tennis and feel good again. Physically, I was okay today. So took almost one week, I kind of lost two matches last week. I would yes, but I don’t want to use this as an excuse. It is what it is, I’ll try to do my best in next tournament,” said Nishikori.

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This is the first time since 2009 that Nishikori has lost in the first round of the Australian Open. Last year, Nishikori had withdrawn from the Australian Open because of a right elbow injury.

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Kshitij Tayal

399 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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