• Kyodo

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Japan's top-ranked men's tennis player Kei Nishikori said Monday a back injury will keep him on the sidelines for the rest of the 2021 season, but pledged to be back on court next year.

The 31-year-old former world No. 4 revealed on Twitter that he will pull out of the Nov. 7-13 Stockholm Open, the last event of the ATP season before the tour final, because of the injury he sustained in the weeks leading up to the San Diego Open in late September.

Nishikori withdrew with back trouble just 90 minutes before he was scheduled to play his San Diego opener against Britain's Andy Murray.

"It's been a long year, coming back from injury and I look forward to (the) off-season," he wrote. "Also, (I) look forward to having a strong pre-season training to make 2022 a great year."

Nishikori, who had season-ending surgery on his right elbow in 2019, has not won an ATP title since January 2019. He is currently ranked 49th in the world.

Also on Monday, Yoshihito Nishioka, the second-ranked male player from Japan, announced that he will also withdraw from the same ATP 25-level tournament in the Swedish capital, citing an issue with his right wrist.

"I was originally planning to compete in Stockholm, but I'm going to call it a year because I'm concerned about my right wrist," the 80th-ranked Nishioka tweeted.

"I hurt my wrist before the (Aug. 30-Sept. 12) U.S. Open and it has gotten much better, but the fear has kept me from hitting my trademark backhand well. I will get it healed and look ahead to next year."

The men's professional tennis season ends with the Nitto ATP Finals in mid-November, featuring only the world's top-eight qualified singles players and doubles teams.

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