More withdrawals hit Auckland Open with Robredo, Agut out

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 13, 2015 10:02 PM

(Reuters) - The Auckland Open suffered a double blow on Wednesday when third seed Roberto Bautista Agut withdrew during his second round match against Adrian Mannarino, while fifth seed Tommy Roberdo pulled out without hitting a ball.

Agut, who was reportedly suffering from jet lag after he made the Chennai Open semi-finals, withdrew while trailing Mannarino 6-2 2-1 shortly after Robredo had held a media conference saying he would not play at all.

The 32-year-old Robredo withdrew from his second round match with New Zealand's Michael Venus with an adductor injury, which could place his Australian Open in jeopardy.

"Two days ago I was in the gym working hard and then practicing and suddenly I felt something in my adductor," Robredo told reporters in Auckland.

"I have been one and a half days without practice and trying to recover to play here but I'm not ready to play a match.

"I don't think it's fair for the players or the tournament to go onto a court and play four or five games and as soon as I feel something withdraw.

"I wouldn't be able to play here good and the people would be disappointed and also it could make me worse for next week."

The world number 17 follows last year's champion John Isner (fatigue), France's Gael Monfils (personal reasons) and four-time champion David Ferrer, who won last week's Qatar Open, to withdraw from the ATP Tour 250-level event.

After initially attracting seven of the top-20 players, world number 13 Ernests Gulbis and number 16 Kevin Anderson were the only two left in the draw on Wednesday.

South Africa's Anderson had earlier advanced to the quarter-finals after he overcame Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(6) 6-1. Gulbis plays Jiri Vesely later on Wednesday.

Tournament director Karl Budge was disappointed with the loss of so many players, though the late withdrawals were not the only issue. Many of the top men had opted not to play in the week prior to the season-opening grand slam at Melbourne Park.

"You're seeing less top-20 players our week and it's a trend that crept in the last four or five years," Budge said when Ferrer withdrew on Sunday.

"We need to look at something, whether that's the tour trying to find a way to regulate it more or we look at how we can change."

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford)