When Pablo Cuevas decided to forego playing in Wimbledon this season it didn't seem like a big deal. Older tennis fans will remember a time on tour when the strong clay courters would collect their cheques and ranking points on dirt and then skip the grass-court season for basically no reason other than disdain for the surface. However, Cuevas blamed a knee injury for his problems, and the injury seems to be quite credible given his recent results.

Cuevas went out of Kitzbuhel on Wednesday

Cuevas was the top seed in the ATP Kitzbuhel draw, a clay-court tournament being played this week in Austria.

With Dominic Thiem not in the tournament this year, Cuevas was looking very dangerous in the draw heading into the tournament. The man from Uruguay has a total of six titles, all of them won since the start of the 2014 season and all of them on the clay-court surface. However, he fell in the second round, after a first-round bye, to Sebastian Ofner on Wednesday. Ofner himself headed into this week as a wild card in Kitzbuhel and ranked outside of the top 150 on tour.

The loss to Ofner follows a loss to 71st-ranked Andrey Kuznetsov in Hamburg last week.

Two weeks ago in Bastad, Cuevas lost to 100th-ranked Henri Laaksonen. Back at the French Open, Cuevas wasn't totally ineffective on clay as he made the third round. But what it looks like is that Cuevas' efforts in making the 2017 Madrid semifinals, playing two matches in Rome, and then three matches in Paris may have taken a lot out of him at the age of 31. The knee injury that was cited for missing Wimbledon followed those results, and Cuevas has been a shadow of his former self since that time.

Will Cuevas shut down his season soon?

Cuevas isn't quite a one-surface show on the ATP Tour. He made the Indian Wells semifinals earlier this season as a highlight on the hard-court surface. However, clay is his clear preferred surface. With no clay-court events remaining this season, not even small ones, you have to wonder if Cuevas might shut things down. It's hard to imagine him losing to the players he has lost to recently on dirt without some injury bothering him. He's never been a top player on tour, but he has so often been a dunk for at least some moderate success in the peripheral clay-court events like the ones that have been played recently.

If Cuevas is injured then the 2017 Rogers Cup, Cincinnati, and the US Open aren't exactly dangling carrots for him. Those are hard-court events, and Cuevas is ranked high enough to get into them. He's on the players' list right now for the Rogers Cup next week. But if Cuevas was willing to miss a payday at Wimbledon with his injury then, if it's still bothering him, he can't really be expected to put it to the test on the cement.

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