Kevin Anderson has been forced to withdraw from next week's New York Open with an elbow injury he picked up at the Australian Open. The South African won the inaugural edition of the tournament last year, defeating Sam Querrey in the final.
The world number five started his year out with his fifth career title in Pune, defeating Ivo Karlovic in a third set tiebreaker before being upset by Frances Tiafoe in the second round in Melbourne. Tiafoe was given a wild card into the Long-Island based event.
Anderson expresses regret on not being able to play on Long Island
In a statement released through the tournament, Anderson said "I'm sorry not to be returning to the New York Open this year to defend my title. The event kick-started my year in 2018 and I was very excited to return. Unfortunately, my elbow has been giving me problems since the Australian Open and I'm not yet back to full fitness".
He continued by saying "I wish the players and fans a great week of tennis. There's a lot of talent in the field and I encourage anyone who can make the event to check it out. See you all next year".
New York Open head comments on changes to the field
Tournament chairman and co-director Josh Ripple commented on Anderson's withdrawal as well as Aussie Alex de Minaur, who pulled out with an unspecified injury: "we're obviously disappointed not to be able to see two incredible players like Kevin and Alex in action, but wish all the best in their recovery.
"Fans will still be able to see top-flight stars, including the best American tennis, has to offer. We look forward to hopefully seeing Kevin and Alex out on the black courts next year for the 2020 New York Open".
On adding Tiafoe to the field, Ripple stated "adding Frances to what already is a tremendous and talented field, is very excited for all of us of involved with the New York Open. We look forward to seeing him build off of what he showed in Melbourne last month here in front of a great tennis fan base on Long Island".