The extraordinary string of injury withdrawals in the first week of the 2014 season has spread to Chennai, India, where Italian No. 1 Fabio Fognini suffered a thigh injury and was forced to withdraw from the tournament. Fognini suffered a thigh injury and retired an hour into his opening match against local talent Yuki Bhambri. The wildcard had taken the first set 6-1 and the two were locked in a close second set before Fognini chose to retire due to the pain.
“I feel very bad that I am not being able to compete in this tournament,” Fognini said. “I felt okay for the last two days, but there was a lot of pain during the match.”
Fognini began the 2013 season at no. 47 in the Emirates ATP Rankings but won his first two ATP WOrld Tour titles in consecutive weeks in Hamburg and Stuttgart, subsequently shooting up the ranks to finish the year at no. 16. The achievement makes him the first Italian to finish among the top 20 since Corrado Barazzutti achieved the feat in 1978 and he will certainly be hoping to push further ahead in the new year.
“I really don`t know what I will do now. Whether I should go home, or go to Sydney to practice. At this stage I can`t say I will be fit for the Australian Open. I need to have check-ups to know the full extent of the injury, but the only thing I can do now is rest and hope for the best.”
Tournament director Tom Annear said he was disappointed at the large number of withdrawals, but hoped the players will recover fast and return to court in the next few weeks in time for the Australian Open.
“Fognini was obviously in trouble when he opted out of the doubles, but he must have thought he was good enough to play today.”Annear told reporters.”It does diminish a tournament, but we get a fair idea of how fit a player is and it is just unfortunate that so many have pulled out in the last few days,”
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