Japan;’s Kei Nishikori will hope to end a one-year injury absence this week when he plays the Kitzbuehel clay event in the Austrian Alps.
The 2014 US Open finalist has been off court with elbow and other injuries since losing in the New York third round in August, 2019.
Now, after several false start atempts, the 30-year-old Japanese hopes to get it right in the top ski resort whose usual summer week was moved due to the five-month COVID-19 tennis pause.
The tournament will be played opposite the second week of the quarantined US Open in New York.
During a pre-event outing, Nishikori made a visit to the legendary Streif ski run, used each January for a World Cup alpine classic race during the Hahnenkamm weekend.
Asia’s top player was able to see for himself the challenges of one of the circuit’s two most challenging and dangerous courses.
“This is my first time in Kitzbühel and I really like it here. The city, the surroundings, the view from up here,” he said.
“I’m happy to be back after elbow surgery. Everything feels good, I’m at 100 percent now.
“I can certainly play a good week here and am really looking forward to the first matches in over a year.
“A bit of nervousness will certainly play a role and it will certainly not be easy, but I just want to enjoy the moment when I step on the court,” the one-tine ATP No. 4 now ranked 34th said.
Nishikori is joined in the clay field by Diego Schwartzman, a first-round US Open loser.
The event is being staged in strict bio-security, with plentiful virus tests; around 400 are expected to be performed this week at the crowd-free tournament, billed as preparation for the rescheduled French Open due to start in Paris in three weeks.
Main photo:- Kei Nishikori visits the Hahnenkamm Mountain near Kitzbuehel famous for it’s downhill Ski piste Photo ATP tour.com