US Open champion Marin Cilic has abandoned his bid to play in next week's Brisbane International because of an ongoing shoulder injury that could yet undermine his Australian Open campaign next month.
His place in the January 4-11 tournament has been taken by 29-year-old Victorian Marinko Matosevic who lost in the quarter-finals of this event to Roger Federer in Brisbane last January.
"I am very sad I have to withdrawn from the Brisbane tournament," Cilic (pictured) tweeted.
Tournament director Cameron Pearson only learned of Cilic's withdrawal late on Tuesday evening.
He had been hoping the longer he waited the more likely Cilic was of playing in Brisbane.
Pearson was unable to shed any light on whether Cilic's shoulder injury would prevent him from playing in the Australian Open in Melbourne in three weeks.
"We'd been hoping he would overcome his injury," Pearson said.
"It's always a shame when you lose a top-10 ranked player but this field is incredibly strong and deep and fans will still be treated to some wonderful tennis from the men and the women," he said.
Australia's number one ranked play Sam Stosur, two-time grand slam champion Victoria Azarenka, and world No.15 Jelena Jankovic hit Pat Rafter Arena yesterday in sweltering conditions to squeeze in some hitting time on the courts.