Nishikori pulls out, Djokovic races clock, Murray withdraws
Melbourne: Injured Japanese star Kei Nishikori pulled out of the Australian Open, while Novak Djokovic says he will test his problem elbow at an exhibition before deciding whether to play.
Asian number one Nishikori has not played competitively since last August after suffering a torn tendon in his right wrist during a practice session at Cincinnati.
He said he still wasn't ready for a gruelling Grand Slam campaign. "I am very sorry to announce that I will miss the Aussie Open this year," he said on his website of the opening major of the year, starting in Melbourne on January 15.
"The Aussie Open is my favourite Slam ... it's my 'home' Slam," he added.
"It's the Slam that takes incredible care of the players and their teams, and it hurts that I will have to miss it this year. "My rehab is going well but I am just not ready 100 percent to come back yet in best of five set matches."
Nishikori is not the only leading player struggling with injury, with a who's who of the top names in the game battling to be fit for Melbourne Park.
Another former number one, Andy Murray, is also struggling and withdrew from Brisbane International as he works to overcome a right hip injury which has sidelined him since Wimbledon.