MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro has delayed his comeback from a long layoff following wrist surgery in March and will miss tournaments in China, Japan and Malaysia over the next two months.
The 25-year-old Argentine 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 has managed to play just four matches at two tournaments.
"I would like to take this opportunity to tell you, my fans, that although the recovery of the wrist is progressing very well, I need a little more time to reach the competitive level necessary to compete week after week," Del Potro said in a message posted on his Facebook page.
"I worked hard to be ready to make my comeback in Asia, where I had great results last year, but unfortunately it was not possible.
"I'm going to miss my fans in Malaysia, Tokyo and Shanghai who always gave me tremendous support. I will keep working hard on my recovery to play the European season at the end of the year."
Del Potro, the 2009 champion at Flushing Meadows, will miss the Sept. 22-28 Malaysian Open, his title defense at the Japan Open a week later and the Oct. 5-12 Shanghai Masters, where he made the final last year.
The season-ending European swing starts Oct. 13 with tournaments in Russia, Sweden and Austria.
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Nick Mulvenney