Unwell Nishikori pulls out of Indian Wells

Novak Djokovic's tough Indian Wells draw has potentially been eased by Kei Nishikori's withdrawal due to illness.

World number 25 Kei Nishikori   -  Getty Images

Kei Nishikori has been forced to pull out of the Indian Wells Masters due to illness, with Ruben Bemelmans taking his place in the main draw.

The world number 25, who missed five months of action with a wrist injury before returning to action in late January, had been set to begin his tournament against Leonardo Mayer on Sunday, but lucky loser Bemelmans will now have the opportunity to take on the Argentinian.

Nishikori's withdrawal is a potential boost for the returning Novak Djokovic, who could have gone head-to-head with the Japanese in round three.

"I have decided to give up this week's game, unfortunately, because I didn't recover from a cold [at the Mexican Open] last week," Nishikori posted on Twitter.

"As it is one of my favourite competitions, this is regrettable, but I want to prepare for my next competition [the Miami Open] by healing early."

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