Thanasi Kokkinakis’s immediate playing career is on hold after the exciting teenager ruled himself out of the entire Australian summer of tennis with a shoulder injury.
Kokkinakis took to Twitter on Christmas eve to reveal the “devastating” news.
The 19 year-old, one of the youngest players in the world’s top 100, will undergo surgery to repair his serving arm.
“I’m shattered to let you all know I’m still having issues with my shoulder and won’t be able to play any of the events in Australia this summer,” Kokkinakis said.
“My team and I had hoped a good rest at the end of the season would fix the problem, but it turns out I’ll need to have some minor surgery and will be out for the next few months.
“I’m confident this is just a small setback and having it done now is the best option for the long term.”
Kokkinakis slashed his ranking in half in 2015 and reached a career-high No.69 after conquering Australian No.1 Bernard Tomic in a claycourt thriller to reach the third round of the French Open in June.
He ignited his season with a memorable five-set first-round win over then-world No.11 Ernests Gulbis at the Australian Open in January, saving a match point en route to victory over the Latvian.
Kokkinakis had been eager to continue his ascension up the rankings in the early part of 2016.
“I was really pumped for the Aussie summer, and looking forward to playing in Adelaide, Brisbane and especially the Aussie Open,” Kokkinakis said.
“So I’m pretty devastated I’ll miss my favourite events of the year.
“For now I will focus on doing everything I can to recover and get back on the court as quickly as possible.
“I believe I can come back better and stronger.”
His withdrawal is also a blow for Tennis Australia. Kokkinakis’s summer scratching comes after fellow Australian crowd favourite Casey Dellacqua delivered similarly bad news as she battles the lingering effects from concussion.
The 30-year-old West Australian fell heavily at October’s China Open, was hospitalised and returned to Australia for treatment, hopeful of a quick recovery.
But Dellacqua has been diagnosed with Post-Concussion Syndrome, putting her playing future in doubt.