Chennai: The upcoming Chennai Open has been robbed off some of its sheen as defending champion Janko Tipsarevic on Wednesday withdrew from the country’s premier tennis event owing to a foot injury.
The Serb has been nursing the injury for quite some time now.
“I have had a difficult three months after injuring my heel. I felt I would recover well in time for the Chennai Open but regret to say that I will not be able to take part in the tournament,” he said.
“I apologise to fans who have always supported me and waited to watch me play during matches there. Chennai was always my favourite tournament to start the new season. I always felt very well in Chennai and love this tournament. I really look forward to recovering quickly and getting back to playing tennis soon,” he added.
The 29-year-old, ranked 36th in the world, is a regular competitor in the event which starts on December 30. Tipsarevic had sustained the heel tendon injury at the Valencia Open forcing him to pull out after just three games against Marcel Granollers.
Following this, the Serb was also forced to withdraw from the Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic and he is still to recover fully from the two-month-old injury.
Tipsarevic had earlier confirmed his participation in the $450,000 tournament to stake a claim to the crown and kickstart his new season.
Tipsarevic had captured his fourth ATP World Tour title this year, defeating Bautista Agut of Spain in Chennai.
Meanwhile, Yuki Bhambri was awarded one of the three wild cards for the Chennai Open. Bhambri is currently India's second highest ranked player on the ATP circuit.
The other wild cards in the singles event have gone to India's Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and 18-year-old British junior Kyle Edmunds.