NEW YORK • Three-time Grand Slam champion and world No.2 Andy Murray withdrew from the US Open on Saturday, becoming the latest in a string of prominent players who have pulled out of the event, which begins today.
Murray had been suffering from a hip injury since the French Open and it grew worse at Wimbledon.
"I spoke to a lot of hip specialists. Tried resting, rehabbing, to try and get myself ready here... it's too sore for me to win the tournament, and ultimately that's what I was here to try and do," the Scot said.
Marin Cilic, the fifth seed who has had his own injury problems recently, takes Murray's spot as the second seed, according to Grand Slam rules, and will play Tennys Sandgren today. Sam Querrey moves into Cilic's position, with Philipp Kohlschreiber replacing the American. Lucky loser Lukas Lacko joins the main draw.
Murray, who won the 2012 US Open, joined Novak Djokovic (elbow), Stan Wawrinka (knee), Kei Nishikori (wrist) and Milos Raonic (wrist) on the list of players who have dropped out.
An injury-ravaged men's draw offers the best opportunity yet for a young pretender to claim a maiden Grand Slam crown, but in this most retro of seasons, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will look to turn back time.
Big Four is down to Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer after Novak Djokovic and then Andy Murray pulled out owing to injuries.
Federer, 36, looking to win three Grand Slam titles in the same year for the first time since 2007, will be most people's title pick, having produced a stunning year since returning from a six-month layoff in January - compiling a 35-3 record.
Having claimed a first Australian Open title for seven years and a first Wimbledon title for five years, he could surpass even those feats with a first US Open since 2008 and take his Grand Slam tally to a record-extending 20.
The Swiss' rivalry with 31-year-old Nadal has stretched 13 years and 37 matches, but the duo have never met at the US Open.
Nadal, back on top of the world rankings for the first time in three years, is a two-time winner in New York, his 2010 and 2013 titles forming part of his 15-Slam portfolio which was embellished by a record 10th French Open in June.
However, there will be disappointment for tennis romantics hoping to see a Federer-Nadal title showdown, following the draw on Friday which sees them possibly meeting in the semi-finals instead.
Nadal said he would rather not have Federer in his semi-final path, should they get that far.
"I prefer to play against another player, an easier one if it's possible," said the Spaniard, who has not got past the fourth round since 2013 and starts his campaign against Serbian Dusan Lajovic.
"But meeting him here in (the) semi-finals, if that happens, that will be something amazing."
Federer, meanwhile, said he would like nothing else than to face Nadal in the semi-finals.
"You know, I'd love to play Rafa here in New York," said Federer.
Federer starts his bid for a sixth title against Frances Tiafoe.
NYTIMES, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN
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