Kei Nishikori will replace Juan Martin Del Potro in the ATP World Tour Finals London starting next week. The Argentinean withdrew from the tournament on account of an injury.
Del Potro last played in the Shanghai Rolex Masters in October where he retired in the second round with a knee injury. He has been sidelined from the game ever since.
The 30-year-old’s tryst with injury is not something new. He has been battling with injuries since 2014 – back then; it was his wrist that proved to be a problem. After missing from action for more than a year, he began his journey to a resurgence in 2016.
While he consistently continued to play on the tour, he didn’t have a major breakthrough up until 2018. Del Potro started the year strong by winning the ATP Acapulco and Indian Wells. He later moved on to reach the semifinal of French Open.
However, his most remarkable feat came towards the end of his season when he emerged as the runner-up in China Open and US Open. He last appeared in the ATP World Tour Finals in 2013 – back then, he lost in the robin round.
Del Potro’s withdrawal translates into an automatic entry for Nishikori, who missed out on qualifying for this year’s Finals by a narrow margin. While the Japanese is still seeking his first singles title, he did come close to winning one on three separate occasions.
The 28-year-old is definitely a worthy opponent for the tournament. This will be his fourth appearance in London for the event and interestingly, he has moved on to reach the semifinals in two of his last three attempts to win the ATP World Tour Finals.
Nishikori will be joining the likes of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Marin Cilic, Kevin Anderson, and John Isner. The original list had Rafael Nadal as the top contender but he was replaced by Isner when the Spaniard announced his decision to withdraw from the tournament.
The event will start on November 11, with the final set to take place on November 18.