Fourth-seeded Robredo, Baker out of Auckland

DAVID LONG
Last updated 09:00 01/01/2014
Tommy Robredo
Getty Images
SIDELINED: An arm injury will keep fourth seed Tommy Robredo of Spain out of the Auckland ATP tournament.

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Spain's Tommy Robredo and American Brian Baker have both had to pull out of next week's ATP tennis tournament in Auckland because of injuries.

Robredo, who would have been the fourth seed, has had to withdraw with an arm injury, while Baker has a knee injury.

This means that the German Daniel Brands becomes the eighth seed at 53 in the world rankings, while Michel Przysiezny from Poland and the Colombian Santiago Giraldo both come into the main draw and avoid having to battle through qualifying.

Tournament director Karl Budge said it was disappointing to lose both players.

"Tommy Robredo was brought to our attention early in the week and we've now got confirmation of that," Budge said.

"Brian has had a wretched run of injuries and it's very disappointing not to see both of those gentlemen here."

Budge still has one main draw wildcard up his sleeve for the Open and he will monitor the other tournaments around the world to see if there's a top player who loses early and may want to come to Auckland to get match practice before the Australian Open.

"I haven't had much of a chance to look at how the other tournaments have gone, but I will sit down and do that and see where we're at," he said. 

"At the moment there is every chance of a Kiwi getting that last wildcard, short of something that I'm not aware of rising to the surface."

Budge confirmed that this wildcard was likely to go to New Zealand No 1, Rubin Statham, who has a world ranking of 290.

"Rubin has had a career best year, he has done everything we've asked him to do and he's got a lot fitter and attacked a lot more," Budge said.

"Fingers crossed that if he does get that opportunity he can take it out on centre court."

As for the wildcards for the qualifying tournament, Budge said they are likely to be heading to other New Zealand players

"Artem (Sitak, the New Zealand champion) is the only one at the moment that I've guaranteed one to," Budge said. 

"I am also looking at other options, one is an offshore candidate, but we'll have a look at that over the next couple of days, last year we were pretty fortunate to have a cut off where we got a lot of New Zealand guys in.

"We had eight in the top 100, but we also had a number of the Kiwi guys get in.

"We'll see once the hotel reservations start coming in and then we'll start announcing wildcards.

"It may be that the ones we're thinking of get in directly and we have to look at other options."

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- Fairfax Media

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