(Reuters) - Kei Nishikori is entered to play in the Australian Open, but the jury is still out on whether the Japanese can recover from a season-ending wrist injury in time for the year’s first grand slam, his manager said on Thursday.
The 27-year-old, who was ranked fourth in the world in March, pulled out of the Cincinnati Masters in August after tearing a tendon in his right wrist and has not played since.
Nishikori has dropped to 14th in the rankings after missing the U.S. Open, the final grand slam of the year, but is also entered to play in the Brisbane International, a warm-up for the year’s first major in Melbourne.
“Kei’s rehabilitation is on track and the medical team is satisfied with the current progress,” his manager told Reuters in an email.
”Having said that, we will only get a clear picture as to the exact point of return to the tour once Kei is back on the court and practicing at 100 percent capacity.
“The goal is to be practicing at full capacity in December and be ready for Australia. We will learn more in the next month if this is feasible.”
Nishikori’s participation at February’s New York Open on Long Island was confirmed by tournament organizers on Wednesday.
He is also registered to play at tournaments in Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami in March next year.
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond