The Brisbane International will attract some big time tennis talent for the tournament that begins on the last day of 2017 and concludes January 7 of 2018.
Milo Raonic and Kei Nishikori will take part as an attempt to move up the world rankings. Both players are already well ranked, with Nishikori at 22 and Raonic at 24, but both also fought injuries last season, so playing at Brisbane will give both some opportunity to test out their form ahead of the Australian Open.
The announcement of the two’s participation in Brisbane was reported by The Courier-Mail.
Those rankings seem quite respectableuntil you acknowledge that both were members of the top-fiveelite as recently as a year ago. Both still have some time to train and get a good gauge of their recovery before starting the grind on a year of travel and fierce competition.
Nishikori has been out since early Augustwith a wrist injury and Raonic has been out since early in October due to a calf strain. There is hardly a single body part on a tennis player that is not subject to injury and there is none that can be ignored when it comes time to international match play at the top level.
Raonic also had wrist surgery that kept him out of the U.S. Open. He was as high as number three in the rankings after advancing to the 2016 Wimbledon final. He has played the Brisbane International of three occasions for the most recent of his eight career titles. When he won the tournament in 2016, he beat Roger Federer, so there is no doubt that he can play the top men when completely fit.
Raonic is one of those calling for a more compressed schedule. He would like to see the season squeezed into seven months from ten.
No doubt, senior citizens such as Federer and Nadal might second the idea, but they could easily have a different opinion, given as they both experienced banner years in 2017.