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Nishikori, Morita earn invitations to Beijing

Kyodo

Kei Nishikori obtained a berth for the Beijing Olympics in the men’s singles event, while compatriot Ayumi Morita received a spot in women’s singles, International Tennis Federation honorary vice president Eiichi Kawatei said Saturday.

Nishikori and Morita were both selected based on ITF recommendations and the Japan Tennis Association is set to urge them to participate. The players must respond on whether they will take part by Monday’s deadline.

Shuzo Matsuoka was the last Japanese male to appear in the singles event at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics.

The 18-year-old Nishikori will be the youngest member since tennis was officially reintroduced at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Nishikori became the first Japanese winner on the ATP Tour in 16 years with his victory at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships in February and was temporarily ranked 99th in the world.

Morita has also booked a spot in women’s doubles with partner Ai Sugiyama, who will also appear in the singles competition.