Nishikori in for injured Del Potro, ATP Finals field set

Published by Reuters / Tennismash

Kei Nishikori will play at the ATP Finals in London for the fourth time; Getty Images
Juan Martin del Potro confirms he won’t play the ATP Finals, meaning Kei Nishikori becomes the eighth and final qualifier for the season-ender in London.

Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro withdrew from the season-ending ATP Finals and will be replaced by Japan’s Kei Nishikori, organisers of the London event said.

World No.4 Del Potro is still sidelined with a right knee injury sustained during a fall at the Shanghai Masters last month.

Nishikori will join Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev, Kevin Anderson, Marin Cilic and Dominic Thiem at the elite eight-player event.

“It’s frustrating for me not to be able to compete in London,” Del Potro, who last played in the event in 2013 since when he has been plagued by injuries, said in an ATP statement on Saturday.

“It’s a very special tournament and I’ve tried everything possible to get my knee better. The rehabilitation is making good progress but I need more time.

“Of course, it’s disappointing for me right now but I had a very good season overall.”

Nishikori will make his fourth appearance at London’s O2 Arena, where he reached the semifinals in 2014 and 2016.

“First of all I want to wish @delpotrojuan a speedy recovery. He had an amazing year,” the 28-year-old said on Twitter.

“Second I am very excited to join the London field.

“I started my year with challengers and missed the Aussie Open and Indian Wells. Very proud of the way the year turned out.”

Indeed, Nishikori begun the year playing two tournaments on the second-tier Challenger circuit and won the second of those in Dallas.

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From there, he took that form onto the ATP tour. Falling as low as No.39 in the rankings, he quickly rebounded to the cusp of the top 20 after reaching the Masters final on clay in Monte Carlo.

Following that came a fourth-round showing at Roland Garros, his first career quarterfinal at Wimbledon and then a trip to the semifinals at the US Open.

He continued to rack up the wins, reaching 500-level finals in Tokyo and Vienna to boost his ranking to No.11.

By reaching the quarterfinals at the Paris Masters this week, he improved his win-loss record in 2018 to 47-20.

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