Reigning US Open champion Stan Wawrinka will not defend his title in New York later this month due to a knee injury.
The 32-year old Swiss, who currently ranks fourth in the world, announced via a Facebook post that he had made the “difficult decision to undergo a medical intervention” on the problem, ruling him out of any competitive action for the rest of the year.
He seemed hopeful that he would eventually be back to his best, insisting that surgery was “the only solution to make sure I will be able to compete at the top level for many more years”.
It was obvious that drastic action was necessary from Wawrinka’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance at Wimbledon, where he was eliminated in the first round by Russia’s Daniil Medvedev after visibly struggling and requiring an ice pack for his knee.
Before that, the three-time Grand Slam champion had reached the French Open final and the semi-finals of the Australia Open.
Stan’s Facebook post thanked his fans for their messages of support before going on to say: “This [surgery] is obviously extremely disappointing, but I’m already looking ahead and planning my recovery.
“I love this sport and I will work hard to get back to my top level and play many more years. I will see you all in 2018.”
Wawrinka isn’t the only high-profile name who will sit out the US Open, after former world number one and 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic - who ranks one spot below fourth-place Wawrinka - announced he too would not play again in 2017 due to an elbow injury that has plagued him for 18 months and forced him to retire from his Wimbledon quarter-final against Tomas Berdych.
The Serb, who won the US Open in 2011 and 2015, said: "Professionally, this is not an easy decision for me, but I'm trying to look at the positive side.”
He added that the injury is the result of “excessive playing” and his absence from Flushing Meadows brings a sad end to a run of 51 consecutive Grand Slam appearances.
It goes without saying that there will still be plenty of talent out on the court for the ATP World Finals, where fans booking corporate hospitality will get to see Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in action as they seek to secure the world number one slot at the end of the season.
Image: David Ramos / Staff (Getty)