Back injury makes Stan Wawrinka latest Swiss star out of Olympics

Xinhua/Imago/Icon Sportswire
Xinhua/Imago/Icon Sportswire

Once flush with medal contenders, Switzerland’s Olympic tennis roster continues to be decimated by injuries.

Following Roger Federer (out for the year to strengthen knee) and Belinda Bencic (recovering fitness after injury to focus on U.S. Open), Stan Wawrinka announced on Tuesday that he will miss the Rio Games with a back injury.

Wawrinka’s confusing decision to fly home after a perplexing semi-tank against Kei Nishikori in Saturday’s semifinal loss in Toronto makes more sense now. In a statement, Wawrinka’s team said, “Following analyses and a MRI scan, local overstress was discovered and he was advised to reduce his physical activity for an undetermined period during which he will undergo further examinations.”

This is clearly not another example of a player ducking out of the event over lack of ranking points and/or prize money (or the Zika virus). Wawrinka, 31, has long represented Switzerland in Davis Cup, helping bring home the trophy in 2014, and he added in the statement that, “I’m very sad. I was really excited about playing in Rio. After Beijing and London I was very much looking forward to playing in my third Olympic Games. I wish all the Swiss athletes the best of luck throughout the coming weeks.”

Wawrinka won doubles gold with Federer in 2008 but last week said he would not play mixed doubles with Martina Hingis and may have even passed on doubles even if Federer were healthy, citing a desire to focus on bringing home a medal in singles.

Switzerland is now without any male participant, with just Timea Bacsinszky in women’s singles and Bacsinszky/Hingis in doubles, replacing the Bencic/Hingis duo.

As for the men’s draw, this moves Kei Nishikori into a top four seed and David Goffin to a top eight seed, while all the withdrawals means Benoit Paire (currently ranked 32nd) is now one of the 16 seeds.

It remains to be seen if Wawrinka’s injury will affect his entry into Cincinnati or the U.S. Open.

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