NEW YORK – Kei Nishikori has spoken of his fitness concerns as he prepares to return to action for the first time in nearly a month at the U.S. Open, which begins on Monday.
The 24-year-old needed three weeks of recovery after having a cyst removed from the big right toe of his right foot on Aug. 4, causing him to miss the Rogers Cup and the Western & Southern Open, the two warm-up tournaments before the U.S. Open.
Speaking at a news conference in New York on Friday, Nishikori said, “I had doubts about my decision (to play at the U.S. Open) but I am going to take a chance.
“However, to be honest I have some concerns about my physical fitness.”
Nishikori resumed training on the court a week ago. He practiced for about two hours on center court on Friday.
“I haven’t had match practice and I don’t know if I will be able to keep up when it comes to quick movement,” he said. “If the pain comes back on the day of the game, I don’t know if I will play. I don’t know if I will be able to get through the first round.”
Nishikori is slated to play American Wayne Odesnik, who is ranked 180th in the world.
Taro Daniel, Yoshihito Nishioka and Tatsuma Ito all won their third-round qualifiers in the men’s singles to reach the main draw at the U.S. Open on Friday.
Daniel came from behind to beat Canada’s Peter Polansky 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, while Nishioka crushed Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1.
Daniel and Nishioka qualified for the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time.
Ito booked his spot in the main competition with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Poland’s Michal Przysiezny, but Yuichi Sugita and Hiroki Moriya both lost, as did Misa Eguchi in the women’s qualifiers.