Juan Martin del Potro started to hint that he would miss the 2017 Australian Open around Christmas time. A short time later, he did in fact confirm that he would not participate in the first major of the season. With the draw released on Friday, he and several other otherwise-qualified players are looking at the Melbourne Park draw without their names in it.

Kokkinakis most recent withdrawal

One of the more recent withdrawals is Thanasi Kokkinakis, the 20 year old Australian. He currently has a ranking inside the top 70 which would have put him safely into the field of 128 without having to worry about qualifiers.

However, he pulled out of ATP Sydney a few days ago with an abdominal strain and won't be participating in Melbourne Park either. Veteran John Millman is an Aussie who joins Kokkinakis in missing the 2017 Australian Open.

Other players that could be in the field but aren't are Kevin Anderson, Ricardas Berankis, Juan Monaco, and Tommy Robredo. Anderson, who is now 30 years old, had ankle and shoulder problems in 2016. He has not contested an event since Vienna in the fall with perhaps Indian Wells or Miami his next target. Juan Monaco's wrist problems have returned, causing the World No.

66 to miss the Aussie. Meanwhile 34-year old Robredo has foot problems.

Del Potro's absence the biggest impact

However, of all the players that are missing this year's Australian Open, Juan Martin del Potro's absence is the biggest.

The Argentine was dangerous in the Grand Slams last season, noting a second-round victory over Stan Wawrinka at Wimbledon. Furthermore, del Potro won the ATP's Comeback Player of the Year Award in the fall, an award he took for the second time in his career. That he's on the sidelines for the biggest event in the early going of the 2017 season will definitely hurt his chances of improving his ranking.

However, Delpo's ability to bounce back from problems is a defining characteristic of his career. Hopefully the 2009 US Open champion will be back to full fitness in order that he might challenge for a deep run in either Indian Wells or Miami later this season.

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