Kei Nishikori has withdrawn from Japan’s Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group quarterfinal tie against Czech Republic with a left groin injury.
Nishikori has been troubled by the injury since Delray Beach in February and hurt it again during his victory over Roger Federer in the quarterfinals at Miami last week, forcing him to give a walkover to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. He has since undergone an MRI scan and hopes to be back on Tour in Barcelona later this month.
“I’m so disappointed. I want to play but it’s still hurting and I haven’t played tennis yet so I can’t play here,” said the Japanese No. 1. “It’s a really tough moment for me. It’s our first quarterfinal and I think we had a chance to win this tie.”
Nishikori has been replaced in the team by 21-year-old Taro Daniel (subject to ITF approval), who received his first Davis Cup call up at the weekend.
“I got an emergency call on Saturday and had to make a decision really quickly but I’m happy to be here,” explained the world No. 190, who reached the quarterfinals at Vina del Mar as a qualifier earlier this year in his first ATP event. “I’ve never been part of any teams before so for my first time to be in the quarters of Davis Cup is really exciting. So far it’s been fun; it’s different to train as a team but I’m very happy for this opportunity and it will be a big help for the future.”
When Japan’s Davis Cup captain Minoru Ueda learnt of Nishikori’s injury he knew straightaway who he wanted to bring into the team as a possible replacement.
“My first thought for a replacement player was Taro as I believe he has the potential to be in the Top 100 and is the future of Japanese tennis,” explained Ueda. “Not having Kei has definitely damaged the team’s chances but we have to believe we can win and now we can show how the other Japanese players can do in the competition.”
Daniel concurred: “I don’t think the odds are in our favour now but we definitely have a chance as we are all playing well and when you have a chance you can do anything. It’s a big stage for my first Davis Cup experience but I don’t feel any pressure as I’ve never played before so I don’t know what to expect.”
Nishikori will stay with the team this weekend and support them from the team bench.