Japan ace Kei Nishikori will play Canada’s Peter Polansky in singles on Friday to kick off their nation’s Davis Cup World Group first-round fixture.
Polansky, ranked 135th in the world, was drawn to play 18th-ranked Nishikori in Thursday’s draw, when Canada’s injury woes became evident. Milos Raonic, ranked 11th in the world, was forced to withdraw from the fixture due to a leg injury, while Vasek Pospisil, the 25th-ranked singles player, will only play doubles due to back trouble. With those changes, a key for Canada may turn out to be Daniel Nestor, who is ranked 11th in the world in doubles.
“I didn’t know (about Raonic’s injury), so it was a big surprise for us, for sure,” Nishikori said of Raonic’s absence. “Even Pospisil is not playing singles. I understand it’s not easy to play all the time 100 percent, but it’s very sad to hear.”
“They still have two good singles players and Daniel and Pospisil are playing (doubles), so they still have a good team. We still have to play good tennis.”
“Regardless of who I face, my mission is to win my singles match.”
Friday’s second singles match at Ariake Colosseum will pit world No. 140 Go Soeda for Japan against Frank Dancevic, who is ranked 119th in the world. On Saturday, Nestor and Pospisil are slated to face Yuichi Sugita and Yasutaka Uchiyama, with the reverse singles set for Sunday.
The winner here will face either the Czech Republic or the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.