Del Potro to miss Australian Open

Updated: 

Juan Martin del Potro will skip the Australian Open as he continues steady progress on his route to full fitness.

Del Potro returned to form in 2016 after two years wrecked by a wrist injury, winning his first ATP Tour event since January 2014 at October's Stockholm Open, sandwiched by losing the Olympic final to Andy Murray and helping Argentina to Davis Cup glory over Croatia.

Having moved from outside the rankings' top 1000 to world number 38 by the end of the year, Del Potro is taking it slow into 2017 to protect his fitness.

"There's still some time to the first tie against Italy, but not so much and it's going to be on clay, a surface I struggle on," Del Potro said.

Del Potro said earlier this week: "What I need is to have someone get me physically fit enough to last the whole year.

"We're looking at what the priority is. If tennis waited for me for two years, Australia can wait for me for one more."