The ASB Classic men's tennis tournament next week has suffered a significant blow, with the withdrawal of top seed Daniil Medvedev.
The US Open finalist told organisers yesterday he would not be coming to Auckland.
It's not entirely unexpected, as Medvedev has been part of Russia's impressive campaign at the ATP Cup, but it's still a disappointment as the world No 5 was the marquee signing.
Russia have progressed to the last four of the new ATP teams event in Australia, and will face either Canada or Serbia in today's semifinal.
No official reason has been offered for Medvedev's absence, but presumably it is due to the workload he has faced this week.
It's also part of the tennis landscape, given the proximity of the Australian Open.
Players agree to come to the ASB Classic because it is good preparation for the Melbourne event, but are also reluctant to do anything that might compromise their readiness for the first Grand Slam of the year.
The 23-year old Russian was the form player over the North American summer swing last year, reaching four finals in as many tournaments. He made the decider in Washington DC, reached his maiden ATP Tour Masters final in Toronto, then captured his first title at that level a week later in Cincinnati.
That triumph was even more impressive as he beat Novak Djokovic for the second time in 2019.
Medvedev's hot streak continued in New York, reaching his first Grand Slam final and putting in a memorable performance against Rafael Nadal, fighting back from two sets down before losing in five.
"His summer is one of the best I have seen in our sport since I started playing," said Nadal of the performance. Italian Fabio Fognini (No 12) will become the top seed for next week, with Canadian Denis Shapovalov (No 14) to move into second seed.
The men's qualifying tournament starts today, with main draw action to begin on Monday.