Defending U.S. Open champ withdraws

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 4:05 PM ET

Flushing Meadows, NY – Juan Martin del Potro, the reigning U.S. Open champion, announced Saturday he will not be able to defend his title in 2010 due to the lasting effects of wrist surgery earlier this year.

Currently ranked ninth in the world, del Potro became the first Argentine to win the U.S. Open since Guillermo Vilas in 1977 when he defeated the world's top two players in successive matches last year at Flushing Meadows. His first career grand slam title came courtesy of thrilling wins over Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and Roger Federer in a five-set final.

"I feel extremely sad to announce that I will not to be able to defend my US Open title," said del Potro. "Winning in New York last year has been my major accomplishment in tennis and my best memory so far. I am so sorry for my fans, my sponsors and all the people that care about me, but I have only started practicing in the last two weeks and unfortunately I cannot compete at the top level yet. I look forward to returning to New York in 2011."

The 21-year-old played in the year's first grand slam at the Australian Open, eventually bowing out to Marin Cilic in the fourth round. It was del Potro's only appearance on tour this year, as he underwent surgery on his right wrist May 4 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.


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