Juan Martin del Potro will miss the opening part of the 2017 season including the Australian Open because of concerns over his fitness.
The 28-year-old 2009 US Open winner has been beset by injury concerns in recent years after several rounds of surgery on a wrist problem but he enjoyed a stellar comeback in the latter part of 2016, winning the silver medal at the Olympics and then leading Argentina to a maiden Davis Cup triumph in November.
However, those exertions have taken their toll and he has withdrawn from the ASB Classic in Auckland and will not feature in the year’s first grand slam in Melbourne.
A statement from the ATP 250 tournament, which is due to start on January 9, read: ‘It is with great disappointment that we announce Juan Martin Del Potro has confirmed he will withdraw from the Australasian swing due to fitness issues.
‘Del Potro confirmed via his management team overnight that he has not had sufficient recovery time and will be withdrawing from the ASB Classic.’
The Argentinian’s absence from the Australia Open will see the top seeds breathe a sigh of relief as ranked at 38th he was a potential first-round opponent for the likes of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Milos Raonic.
Del Potro’s withdrawal follows news on Friday that women’s world number eight Madison Keys would also be missing in Melbourne following wrist surgery, while world number 11 Petra Kvitova will be absent following injuries sustained in a knife attack earlier this week.