Australian Open: Kei Nishikori withdraws from opening Grand Slam to continue recovery

first_imgJapan’s Kei Nishikori has decided to pull out of this month’s Australian Open as he continues his recovery from a wrist injury.Nishikori, who reached the fourth round in Melbourne last year, has been out since August and still couldn’t play five setters. Therefore, the Japanese decided to walk out and continue his rehab.”The Aussie Open is my favorite slam…it’s my ‘home’ slam…and it hurts that I will have to miss it this year,” Nishikori, 28, said in a statement posted on his website.”My rehab is going well but I am just not ready 100 percent to come back yet in best-of-five-set matches,” he added.Nishikori was ninth in the world rankings before sustaining a season-ending wrist injury ahead of the Cincinnati Masters last August and is currently ranked 22nd on the ATP list.He had been hoping to make his return at the season-opening Brisbane International, where he was runner-up in 2017, but withdrew from that event 11 days ago.Nishikori became the first Japanese man to reach a grand slam final at the 2014 U.S. Open but did not compete at Flushing Meadows last year because of his injury.The Australian Open will be played from January 15-28.(With inputs from Reuters)last_img read more

Greek Soccer Overcomes Country’s Crisis

first_imgATHENS — To an outsider, little has changed in Greek football in the last decade.The national team has kept its instinct for a decisive late goal, has players easily overlooked, and a defense that plays with a spirit of defiance.It’s those ingredients that helped Greece win the 2004 European Championship and made the team a regular at major tournaments since.Greece’s national team has become a rare success story in a country struck by financial crisis that battered everything from public health to achievement in most other sports.Greece qualified for the World Cup by way of the playoffs, eliminating Romania over two legs, but only missed direct qualification on goal difference after eight wins in 10 matches, conceding only four goals.“The main thing is that we’re going to Brazil,” Greece defender Dimitris Siovas said. “People in Greece are going through a difficult time. So above all, what counts is that we give them some joy.”In Brazil, the Greeks will take on Japan, Colombia and Ivory Coast, a draw considered troubling as Greece struggles to contain pacey players.The team is coached by Fernando Santos, a stout 59-year-old former defender from Portugal who took over in 2010 from Otto Rehhagel.When the crisis hit Greece, the country’s top footballers followed the doctors, IT workers and engineers in packing their bags and heading for jobs abroad.More than half of the current squad plays overseas, including captain Giorgos Karagounis at Fulham, defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos at Borussia Dortmund — Greece’s most expensive player — and striker Georgios Samaras at Celtic.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more