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Dominic Thiem says he'll skip the Australian Open if he is not happy with his fitness at the end of December as he pulled out of two warm-up tournaments in Sydney.
The 28-year-old Austrian star had just been announced as one of the headline acts at the new, one-off Sydney Classic in the build up to the Open but said on Sunday he was now delaying his trip to Australia and wouldn't be taking part in either the ATP 250 event nor the ATP Cup.
Thiem has been ailing with a wrist injury since the grasscourt Mallorca Championships in June, and missed both Wimbledon and the defence of his US Open title at Flushing Meadows.
Despite not requiring surgery on the damaged wrist, Thiem has been unable to play competitively and experienced a fresh setback this month when he pulled out of last week's exhibition event in Abu Dhabi.
In announcing that decision last week, Thiem said he was "not yet ready to compete at the highest level".
And there was little to inspire confidence on Sunday when he issued an update confirming he would not travel to play in the two events ahead of the Australian Open.
Although Thiem still wants to play at Melbourne Park, where the slam begins on January 17, his prospects are hinging on him feeling significantly more optimistic about his game and fitness in a matter of days.
Thiem wrote: "After speaking to my team, we have decided to return to Austria, instead of flying directly to Australia.
"Unfortunately, I caught a cold [and tested negative for COVID-19] while in Dubai and was unable to practice last week.
"I will therefore not be in the physical condition required to be able to play the ATP Cup and Sydney ATP 250.
"After not competing for the last six months, I can't take the risk of coming back too soon and picking up a further injury.
"Overall, the time I spent in Dubai was great as I've increased the intensity and level of practice and my wrist is almost at 100 per cent.
"My aim is still to play the Australian Open but we will make a final decision about my participation by the end of December."