(Reuters) - Former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro has confirmed he is to have an operation on his injured left wrist, which is likely to sideline him for most of the rest of the season.
The Argentine world number eight, whose career was severely disrupted by surgery on his right wrist in 2010, pulled out of the Sony Open last week and posted a message on his Facebook page.
"Following new examinations done today, my doctor Richard Berger decided that I should have surgery to fix the problem on my left wrist," it read.
"Obviously, it's not the easiest choice or the happiest moment of my career.
"I experienced a similar situation and I know how hard it is to be out of the tour, the desire to return, the endless weeks of recovery and how difficult it is to start fighting for the top spots in the rankings again."
The 25-year-old started the year by winning his 18th ATP title at the Sydney International but since being upset in the second round of the Australian Open by Roberto Bautista Agut has managed to play just four matches at two tournaments.
The decision to have the surgery will be a major blow to the 2009 U.S. Open champion, who, when fully fit, has the ability to contend at the very top of the game.
Del Potro concluded the message by thanking his fans for their support throughout his struggles with injury.
"The strength you send me and my desire will be crucial during my recovery," he said.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Greg Stutchbury)