Defending champion Kei Nishikori has pulled out of the Hawaii Open 2019 which is scheduled to start tonight at Stan Sheriff Center. The Japanese star has not hit the court since his third-round defeat at the US Open 2019. With this withdrawal, his participation at the next month’s ATP Cup and Australian Open also look uncertain.
The former World No.4 said at a tournament-opening press conference that he won’t be playing because of a nagging elbow injury.
“Unfortunately I have to pull out of the Hawaii Open this year. I am not 100% ready yet,” Nishikori said. “It is very disappointing as I love coming here. I look forward to meeting tennis fans here this week.”
Nishikori also underwent right elbow surgery in October this year and thus missed the Asian Swing of the ATP Tour. Presently, he feels his elbow might delay his return to the ATP Tour in 2020.
He further added: “After US Open, I checked again and something was not doing good. I started to think about surgery and I also discussed with the team. It wasn’t a big surgery. So it only takes 3-4 months. I just start hitting the ball now. So maybe in a couple of weeks, I can start playing.”
During the pre-tournament press-conference, five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova also announced her withdrawal from the Hawaii Open 2019 due to unforeseen circumstances.
“I’m disappointed to announce my withdrawal from the Hawaii Open. I find myself needing a little more time and preparation before my first tournament back,” Sharapova said, in a statement provided by tournament officials. “I wish I could be there to see my fans who were coming to watch me play.”
While three-time Hawaii high school state champion Alyssa Tobita will be replacing Maria Sharapova, no replacement has been named for Nishikori.