The Australian Open begins tomorrow in Melbourne, but the year’s first Grand Slam is being buffeted by an unusually long list of players who are nursing all sorts of injuries.
Some key players, such as defending champion Serena Williams and former champion, Andy Murray have already withdrawn. Murray is recuperating after a hip surgery in Melbourne. Serena said she is yet to regain her full competitive strength since her child birth last September.
Belarusian Victoria Azarenka is also out as she faces a custody battle with her former partner in California.
Here is a rundown of the players who have been struggling in the lead-up to the Melbourne showdown:
– Novak Djokovic –
Six-time Melbourne champion has been sidelined since Wimbledon in July with a right elbow injury. Admits it is still not 100 percent, but at a level where he can play. Appeared at the Kooyong exhibition tournament last week.
– Rafael Nadal –
A knee injury forced the Spanish world number one out of the warm-up Brisbane International, but he said Saturday he “feels good” after intensive practice sessions in Melbourne.
– Stan Wawrinka –
The 2014 champion and his team only made the decision to play the Australian Open on Saturday as he returns from two operations on a knee cartilage injury. Said the knee was holding up well but he was still feeling pain.
– Milos Raonic –
Calf and wrist problems kept the tall Canadian out of action since last October. Played the Brisbane International, but was bundled out by a wildcard.
– Nick Kyrgios –
Leg was strapped at the Brisbane event which he said related to fluid on the back of his left knee. It didn’t seem to trouble Australia’s big hope, who won the tournament.
– Jack Sock –
The American retired from a match at the Hopman Cup with an injured hip, but returned two days later when he lost to Roger Federer.
– Dominic Thiem –
The Austrian world number five pulled out of the warm-up Qatar Open just hours before his semi-final with flu and a fever. The same issue forced him out of a scheduled match at the Kooyong Classic last week.
– Jo-Wilfried Tsonga –
The 2008 Australian Open runner-up withdrew from the Qatar Open before it started with a wrist injury.
– Garbine Muguruza –
World number three retired from Brisbane after collapsing with severe leg cramps. Also pulled out of the Sydney International last week with a thigh injury, but said it had responded well to treatment.
– Sloane Stephens –
The US Open champion withdrew from Brisbane to rest a troublesome knee and was knocked out of Sydney in the first round. Insisted the knee was now “all good”.
– Johanna Konta –
A semi-finalist in Melbourne two years ago, the Briton’s Brisbane campaign ended early when she retired with a right hip injury. Was bundled out of the Sydney International in the first round but said this week “so far, so good” on the injury.
– Caroline Garcia –
The rising French star retired in tears from Brisbane with a back injury in the opening round, saying she could barely move.
– Petra Kvitova –
The two-time Wimbledon champion pulled out of Brisbane with a viral illness and was knocked out of Sydney in round two. She missed last year’s Australian Open after being attacked with a knife near her Czech home.
– Julia Goerges –
The German, ranked 12, withdrew from the Sydney International just hours after beating Caroline Wozniacki to win the warm-up Auckland Classic, citing a right knee injury.
– Eugenie Bouchard –
The Canadian lost all three matches at the Hopman Cup and was eliminated in the first round at Hobart, but said a buttock injury suffered in Perth was now fine.