Pune: World No 7 Marin Cilic on Friday pulled out of next week's Maharashtra Open tennis tournament, citing a nagging knee injury.
Portugal's Pedro Sousa will now enter the main draw after the withdrawal of the second-seeded player from Croatia, who made the announcement through his social media accounts.
"I am sad to announce I have had to pull out of the Tata Open Maharashtra. My sincerest apologies to the fans and organizers," Cilic posted on his Instagram account.
"I was looking forward to returning, however, my knee pains that began toward the end of the season have escalated.
"Treatments during the short off season have been helping but there is still a ways to go and I cannot go into this tournament knowing I am not currently able to give 100%."
The former US Open champion, however, hoped to return next year for the tournament.
"I will miss celebrating New Year's in India this year as I have done for so many years now, but I hope to continue my New Year's tradition there next year!
"Happy Holidays to all and I look forward to seeing many of you in Australia," he said.
Tournament director Prashant Sutar wished Cilic a quick recovery.
"He got in touch with us late last night and was very apologetic about his inability to compete in the tournament. The fans would surely miss out on watching a world-class player like him. We wish Marin a speedy recovery,"
"But having said that, the field is still competitive with the likes of Kevin Anderson, defending champion Gilles Simon, Hyeon Chung and Malek Jaziri and tennis lovers should look forward to some exciting action in the next week."
The tournament will be held from 31 December to 5 January at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium here with qualifiers beginning from 29 December.
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Updated Date: Dec 28, 2018 18:33:17 IST