Juan Del Potro

The 2009 U.S. Open winner withdrew Sunday from the Australian Open on the eve of the tournament to avoid re-injuring a surgically-repaired wrist that he said had been hurting him for the ”last couple days and weeks.”

The Argentinian returned to action last week at the Sydney International, where he reached the quarter-finals after an 11-month layoff.

But the former world No.4 was again troubled by pain in his right wrist, prompting him to pull out of the first major of the year.

Given his age, Del Potro should have some good tennis ahead of him. Wrist problems have taken his career off track, as he underwent surgery on the right side in 2010, months after winning the 2009 U.S. Open by defeating Roger Federer.

“With five-set matches, it is very tough,” Del Potro said on Sunday.”It could be dangerous for my wrist. It was a tough decision, but it could be a smart decision if I want to stay healthy and play for the whole year.” he added.

Del Potro said he would consult with his doctor and hoped to return to tournaments ”very, very soon.”

Del Potro had drawn one of the toughest first-round assignments in Melbourne against 24-year-old Jerzy Janowicz, who won last week’s Hopman Cup team event with Poland teammate Agnieszka Radwanska who will now play 24-year-old lucky-loser Hiroki Moriya, a Japanese player ranked 146th.

The 26-year-old del Potro will now return to Argentina and consult his doctor in a few days, with the hope of returning to competitive action in the United States.

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