Tennis: Nishikori's Grand Slam return cut short by injury

AFP , Thursday 30 May 2024

Kei Nishikori's first Grand Slam appearance in almost three years was curtailed by a shoulder injury that forced him to retire in the second round against Ben Shelton on Thursday.

Kei Nishikori
Japan s Kei Nishikori serves to US Ben Shelton during their men s singles match on day five of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros Complex in Paris on May 30, 2024. AFP

 

The former world number four from Japan threw in the towel after dropping the first two sets to American 15th seed Shelton before rain again interrupted a match that began on Wednesday.

"I have been struggling with my shoulder for two, three months now, and it got better. I thought I was ready to play before first round, so I played," said Nishikori, whose ranking has plummeted to 350 after a lengthy injury absence.

He won his opening match at Roland Garros, defeating Canadian qualifier Gabriel Diallo in a five-set marathon Sunday lasting four hours and 22 minutes.

But those exertions took their toll and brought a sad end to Nishikori's first Grand Slam appearance since the 2021 US Open.

"Unfortunately played five sets and my shoulder was not ready," he said.

"Beginning was okay, but start hurting after playing first set and second set, and maybe I could play one more set, but it start, like, buzzing and start feeling something, sharp pain, so I stopped."

The 34-year-old Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner-up, has barely played on the tour in the past two years following a succession of injuries to his hip, ankle and knee.

He used a protected ranking to compete in Paris.

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