Stefanos Tsitsipas’ Australian Open preparation hit a snag on the first day of the new season, as the elbow injury he suffered last year flared up and forced the Greek star to withdraw from his highly anticipated ATP Cup clash with fellow top 10 talent Hubert Hurkacz.
Tsitsipas was a late omission from his match with Hurkacz, leaving world No. 1076 Aristotelis Thanos to take his place against the Polish player.
World No. 4 required surgery on the same elbow in November and released a statement placing his status as “day by day” following his withdrawal.
“The recovery from my elbow surgery in November is on track for Melbourne and today was a precautionary step to make sure I make Melbourne,” Tsistipas said. “We will see day by day, match by match until then.”
While his withdrawal was a precautionary measure, the injury will almost certainly rule Tsitsipas out of the remainder of the ATP Cup and put him on the back foot ahead of the Australian Open. He is considered one of the best hopes to challenge Novak Djokovic’s pursuit of a 21st grand slam