London | Delpo withdraws and Nishikori replaces him
Juan Martin del Potro has confirmed that he will not be fit enough to compete at the Nitto ATP Tour Finals at the O2 promoting Kei Nishikori, who was the first alternate, into the eighth and last place in the draw.
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. Kei Nishikori
“It’s frustrating for me not to be able to compete in London,” Del Potro said when he announced his withdrawal.
“It’s a very special tournament and I’ve tried everything possible to get my knee better,” he added. “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.”
The 30-year-old Argentine last played in the tournament in 2013 but has been plagued by injuries since then, his latest, a fractured knee cap, was picked up at the Shanghai Masters.
Nishikori, who was ninth in the ATP Race for the Tour Finals, will play in the tournament for the fourth time and joins Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev, Kevin Anderson, Marin Cilic and Dominic Thiem at the Nov. 11-18 event in London.
The 28-year-old Nishikori, who reached the semi-finals at the ATP Finals in 2016 and made the quarters at the Paris Masters this week, commented on Twitter following the news of his promotion.
“First of all, I want to wish Del Potro a speedy recovery. He had an amazing year.
“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.”
In January, Nishikori returned from a five-month layoff caused by a right wrist injury. In April he fell to 39th in the world rankings but will finish the year in the top-10.
In the meantime, Rafael Nadal’s participation remains in doubt. The Spaniard suffered a knee injury at the US Open, forcing him to spend seven weeks on the sidelines.
He attempted to return at the Paris Masters, but minutes before he was due out on the court, pulled out of the competition with a stomach problem which rest, in the interim, might have cured.