World number one Carlos Alcaraz will miss the upcoming Australian Open after suffering a leg injury during pre-season.
The 19-year-old Spaniard became the youngest male player in history to win a Grand Slam at September's US Open when he overcame Norwegian rival Casper Ruud.
Revealing the setback on social media, Alcaraz said: "When I was at my best in pre-season, I picked up an injury through a chance, unnatural movement in training.
"I'd worked so hard to get to my best level for Australia but unfortunately I won't be able to play the Kooyong [warm-up event] or the Australian Open."
|Where:||Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia|
|When:||Monday 16th January - Sunday 29th January|
|How to watch:||Eurosport & Discovery+|
|Odds:||Novak Djokovic 10/11, Daniil Medvedev 9/2, Rafael Nadal 10/1, Nick Krygios 12/1, Alexander Zverev 14/1, Jannik Sinner 14/1, Felix Auger Aliassime 14/1, Stefanos Tsitsipas|
At just 19 years old, time is clearly on Alcaraz's side in his pursuit of further Grand Slam successes after creating history with victory at Flushing Meadows in September.
Victory in New York saw the Spaniard become the first teenager to climb to the top of the ATP world rankings since its inception in 1973.
More major success looks certain to follow in the years to come but the Spanish sensation will have to wait for further targets to add to his Grand Slam collection after his injury setback.
May's French Open will be high on the world number one's list of priorities this season given his affection for clay courts.
Six of Alcaraz's eight ATP tour finals have come on the surface and he beat 14-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, plus Novak Djokovic, en route to winning the Madrid Open last year.
The Spaniard reached the quarter-finals in Paris in 2022 and he is a 7/4 chance to double his tally of Grand Slam titles in the French capital in spring.
Even before Alcaraz's withdrawal this year's Australian Open men's singles looked a wide-open event.
The undisputed king of Melbourne Park this century has been Novak Djokovic, who has won the title a record nine times.
The Serbian is back down under in his pursuit of a remarkable tenth Aussie Open crown after being deported from Australia just days before last year's tournament.
The Spanish legend beat Russia's Daniil Medvedev in last year's final, coming from two sets down to take the title.
Djokovic and Nadal's luminary Roger Federer has retired but it's not just Alcaraz who is threatening to end their stranglehold on tennis biggest prizes.
World number three Ruud is only 24 and reached the US Open final last season and the Norwegian is a 20/1 chance to win down under while shot Stefanos Tsitsipas is the same age and just one place lower in the rankings.
Canadian Felix Auger Aliassime, priced at , was a quarter-finalist in Melbourne last time around and Grand Slam success is the next logical step for the 22-year-old, who ended his trophy drought with four ATP titles in 2022.
Venus Williams will miss the women's singles in Melbourne after sustaining injury in the Auckland Classic.
The 42-year-old American, who is now ranked outside the top 1,000 in the world, has twice reached the final of the Australian Open and was handed a wildcard for this year's event by tournament organisers.
However, she will now miss what would have been a 22nd appearance at Melbourne Park.
There are also doubts over the participation of world number one Iga Swiatek, who left the court in tears following a straight-sets defeat to Jessica Pegula in the United Cup in Sydney on Friday.