LONDON – Kei Nishikori is set to become the first seeded Japanese player in a Grand Slam tournament since the current world ranking system was introduced in 1973.
Nishikori moved down a place to 26th in the latest rankings released Monday but is among the top 32 players who will be seeded in the Australian Open starting Jan. 16. The draw is scheduled for Friday.
Nishikori began 2011 at 98th and climbed to a career-high 24th in early November, the highest rank ever held by a Japanese man, after upsetting world No. 1 Novak Djokovic to reach the Swiss Indoors final.
In last year’s Australian Open, Nishikori lost to Spain’s Fernando Verdasco in the third round.