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(February 19, 2010) Kei Nishikori is headed back to the beach next week to try to jump-start his career at the tournament where he made his professional breakthrough.

The 2008 Delray Beach champion has been granted a wild card into next week's International Tennis Championships at the Delray Beach Tennis Center. Main draw action begins on Monday.

It will be Nishikori's first ATP Tour-level main draw appearance since he lost to Ivan Ljubicic in the opening round of Indian Wells last March.

Injury-induced inactivity has caused Nishikori's rank to plummet to No. 898. He reached a  career-high No.56 in the world in 2009 before a right elbow injury and subsequent surgery ended his  season. 

Two years ago, Nishikori  was  the  youngest player in ITC history to win the title, and he was one of four players to win after coming out of  the qualifying rounds. Changing up the pace of his shots brilliantly, Nishikori won threee rounds in qualifying then beat Florian Mayer, Amer Delic, Bobby Reynolds, Sam Querrey and James Blake in the final to capture his first career championship in Delray Beach.

The 20-year-old Japanese trains at the IMG Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida.


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