Australian Open: Tennis 'stars' not shining brightly due to injuries

Japan's Kei Nishikori has pulled out of Australian Open as he continues to recover from a wrist injury. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Jan 04, 2018, 07.25 AM (IST)

Injured Japanese star Kei Nishikori pulled out of the Australian Open, while Novak Djokovic says he will test his problem elbow before deciding whether to play.

Asian number one Nishikori has been struggling because of a torn tendon in his right wrist.

"I am very sorry to announce that I will miss the Aussie Open this year, The Aussie Open is my favourite Slam ... it's my 'home' Slam," said Nishikori.

"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.

Former world number one Djokovic hasn't played since a right elbow issue forced him to quit Wimbledon in the quarter-finals in July, Svetlana Kuznetsova is already out.

Another former number one, Andy Murray, is also struggling and withdrew from this week's Brisbane International as he works to overcome a right hip injury which has sidelined him since Wimbledon.

"Sadly I won't be playing in Melbourne this year, as I am not yet ready to compete," Murray said in a statement.

Also returning from injury but set to play at the Grand Slam are Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic.

World number one Rafael Nadal, the reigning French Open and US Open champion, pulled out of Brisbane with a knee injury, but the Spaniard has said he still intends to be on the court at the Australian Open.