Dominic Thiem withdraws from Australian Open due to injury

Dominic Thiem, beaten men’s singles finalist in 2020, is out of next month’s Australian Open after failing to recover from a long-standing wrist injury. The 28-year-old Austrian, who has not played since suffering the injury at the Mallorca Open in June, was unable to defend his US Open title this year.

Thiem soared to No 3 in the world until the injury halted his progress and relegated him to his current ranking of 15.

Thiem was beaten in the fourth round of the 2021 Open in three straights by Grigor Dimitrov, while the year before he was beaten in five sets in the final at Melbourne Park by Novak Djokovic.

He will begin his 2022 season on his preferred surface of clay at the Cordoba Open in Argentina at the end of January.

“I will miss the Australian fans, but I will be back (there) in 2023,” he said on Twitter. “We believe this is the right decision in order to have a good return to competition.

“For the moment I will remain in Austria for a few more days and then head to practise outdoors and get ready for my first event of the season.”

Not for the first time in recent years, the Australian Open will be missing a number of top players, with more arriving short of match practice and fitness.

World No 1 Novak Djokovic pulled out of the ATP Cup in Sydney, which is due to start on 1 January, on Wednesday as uncertainty over his participation in the grand slam goes on.

Djokovic has won at Melbourne Park on nine occasions but has repeatedly refused to say whether he has been vaccinated against coronavirus having previously expressed hesitancy over being jabbed.

All players competing are required either to be vaccinated or to provide proof of medical exemption, but that will not be made public.

Speaking to media in Melbourne last week, tournament director Craig Tiley said: “If Novak shows up at the Australian Open, he’ll either be vaccinated or he’ll have a medical exemption.

“[It’s] his choice on his medical condition, it’s his choice to keep [it] personal and private like all of us would do with any condition we may or may not have. We are not going to force him or ask him to disclose that.”

Elsewhere on the men’s side, 20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer is still recovering from knee surgery, joining Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic on the sidelines. 2009 winner Rafael Nadal and Denis Shapovalov have both recently tested positive for Covid.

In the women’s draw, 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams heads the list of absentees, while Jennifer Brady, Karolína Plíšková, Karolína Muchová, and Bianca Andreescu are all set to miss out.