ATP Tour

Canada hit by Raonic injury

Milos Raonic (File)
Milos Raonic (File)

Tokyo - Last year's semi-finalists Canada will be without talisman Milos Raonic for their Davis Cup clash with Japan in Tokyo beginning Friday after he pulled out with an ankle injury.

The withdrawal of the world number 11 deals a severe blow to Canada's chances in the world group first-round tie at the bayside venue.

"This decision was very difficult to make but I believe in the players on our team and that they can get us the win," Raonic said in a statement Thursday.

"With a team scenario the most important part this week is to come out with a team win and I believe this is the best way to do it."

Raonic's absence will be a huge boost for Japan, led by world number 18 Kei Nishikori, who began the year in promising fashion at the Australian Open by pushing Rafael Nadal hard in a 7-6 (7/3), 7-5, 7-6 (7/3) fourth-round loss.

Peter Polansky and Frank Dancevic will carry Canada's hopes on the opening day, with Vasek Pospisil only passed fit for doubles.

Nishikori faces Polansky before Go Soeda takes on Dancevic in Friday's singles.

An inspired Nishikori helped Japan return to the Davis Cup world group with a 3-2 comeback victory over Colombia last September.

Japan hold a 5-0 record against Canada in Davis Cup competition, although they have not met for more than 75 years. Japan shut the Canadians out on grass in Montreal in 1938.

The winners of this weekend's tie will play either defending champions the Czech Republic or the Netherlands in the quarter-finals in April.

Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
44% - 5814 votes
Cricket
11% - 1445 votes
Football
19% - 2447 votes
Athletics
2% - 300 votes
Boxing
1% - 120 votes
Cycling
2% - 298 votes
Golf
5% - 643 votes
Motorsport
8% - 1063 votes
Tennis
3% - 412 votes
Water sports
1% - 116 votes
American sports
1% - 127 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 378 votes
Vote