Tennis  

Nishikori gets Davis Cup day off

Kei Nishikori of Japan reacts to a point against Andy Murray of Great Britain during their 2016 US Open men's singles quarterfinals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 7, 2016 in New York. Kei Nishikori stunned Andy Murray to reach the US Open semi-finals, holding his nerve in a breathtaking final set to move two wins away from becoming the first Asian man to capture a Grand Slam singles title. Don EMMERT / AFP

Kei Nishikori of Japan reacts to a point against Andy Murray of Great Britain during their 2016 US Open men’s singles quarterfinals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 7, 2016 in New York. Kei Nishikori stunned Andy Murray to reach the US Open semi-finals, holding his nerve in a breathtaking final set to move two wins away from becoming the first Asian man to capture a Grand Slam singles title.<br />Don EMMERT / AFP

Japan’s Kei Nishikori will be rested for the first day of their home Davis Cup World Group playoff against Ukraine today after his recent exertions at the US Open.

The world No 5 beat Rafael Nadal to win Olympic bronze before reaching the semifinals of the year’s final grand slam in New York last week.

“Obviously I’m not 100 percent after the US Open,” said Nishikori yesterday.

“I had a long discussion with the team, the doctors and the physicians and decided not to play on Friday. It’s been a really long summer, with Rio too, so maybe that’s why I’m not quite ready.

“It’s just tiredness,” he added after a Flushing Meadows run which included a quarterfinal victory over Andy Murray. “No major injury, but I’m not 100 percent for sure.”

Nishikori, beaten by eventual champion Stanislas Wawrinka in his failed bid to reach his second US Open final, insisted, however, that he was in shape to help Japan overcome Ukraine in Osaka.

“I’ve played some great tennis this summer so I’m physically and mentally very positive,” said Nishikori, who will be joined on Japan’s Davis Cup team by Taro Daniel, Yoshihito Nishioka and Yuichi Sugita – all ranked just inside the world’s top 100.

“Obviously singles will be important. You win three (singles matches), you’re done. Everyone’s playing really well and we have a lot of confidence.”

Ukraine coach Mikhail Filima admitted Nishikori’s absence on Friday would boost his side’s hopes.

“Of course it gives us more of a chance,” he said. “It was a big surprise. Illya Marchenko can win two points for Ukraine.”

Marchenko is Ukraine’s top-ranked player, currently at a career-high 50th, and is joined by Sergiy Stakhovsky, Artem Smirnov and Danylo Kalenichenko.
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