The Heineken Open has lost two of its major drawcards, after defending champion John Isner and popular Frenchman Gael Monfils withdrew on Thursday night.
Isner has elected to skip the tournament and venture straight to Melbourne to prepare for the Australian Open, after he has had what was described as a "big week" at the Hopman Cup in Perth this week.
Meanwhile, Monfils won't be making the trip to Auckland for "personal reasons" and Heineken Open tournament director Karl Budge said he was "unsure" if the Frenchman would appear at the year's first grand slam.
"Gael is withdrawing due to personal reasons," said Budge. "I have spoken to Gael and he is bitterly disappointed. I don't believe it is a cop out. I think if Gael could of he would have been here."
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In a statement the world No18 said;
"Sadly I have been forced to withdraw from the Heineken Open. I tried as much as possible to get ready on time but there was simply not enough time. I am deeply disappointed for the fans since I love the tournament and keep great memories of my last visit in New Zealand."
Meanwhile Isner said he was also "sad" to miss one of his "favourite stops" of the season.
"As much as I would like to be competing in Auckland to defend my title, I feel at this time it is best for me to hit the practice courts in advance of the Australian Open," two time Auckland champion Isner said in a statement. "Best of luck to the organizers for another successful event,".
Despite this setback, the Heineken Open will still boast five top 20 players including David Ferrer, Ernests Gulbis and Roberto Bautista Agut. The competing Sydney event in the same week has just one top-20 player.