Stan Wawrinka has put his participation at next month’s Australian Open in major doubt after withdrawing from the upcoming Mubadala World Tennis Championship.
The Swiss ace has not played competitively since his surprise first-round exit at Wimbledon during the summer, as he has been forced to undergo two surgeries to correct a knee problem.
The 32-year-old had been expected to make his return to action at this month’s exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, but he has now confirmed he has withdrawn from the event and he now faces a race against time to be fit for the first Grand Slam event of 2018.
“Unfortunately I won’t be able to play in Abu Dhabi this year as I’m not ready yet to compete at this level,” said Wawrinka.
“Together with my team, I’m working hard and we will do everything to be ready in time for the Australian Open.”
Wawrinka has an impressive record at the Australian Open, as he won his first Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park in 2014, while he has reached the semi-finals of the tournament on two other occasions.
The world number nine confirmed he needs to be patient as he continues his recovery from injury, although he is also disappointed he will not be able to compete at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship – a tournament he has never previously won.
“I’m sad that I won’t be able to play in front of the great fans at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship but I need to be patient and give my body the time it needs. I wish everyone a great event and hope to be back in Abu Dhabi in 2018.”
The 2018 Australian Open is due to get underway on January 15 and Wawrinka is priced at 17.00 to win the tournament for the second time.