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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday January 17, 2022

The Australian Open draw has been further depleted on the men’s side as No.8 seed Casper Ruud has been forced to pull out with an ankle injury. The Norwegian star says he twisted his ankle two days ago in practice and that he’s not able to compete in the main draw.

Lucky loser Roman Safiullin of Russia will take his place in the draw and face Alex Molcan in first-round action later today.

Tennis Express

“Two days ago in practice I rolled or twisted my ankle,” Ruud said. “I hoped that I would be able to recover and be able to step on court today with the two days that I had, but rolling an ankle usually maybe needs some more time. I tried everything I could to be ready, but unfortunately I've decided that I'm not a hundred percent ready and I will not be able to play a hundred percent like I have to to compete at this level. That's the final decision.”

It’s the second straight year that Ruud has had bad injury luck at the Aussie Open. He retired from his round of 16 match after two sets against Andrey Rublev last year with an abdominal injury.

The Norwegian says he plans to rest, head home to Norway, then travel to South America for the clay-court Latin swing.

“The plan is obviously to rest,” he said. “Like I said, I tried to play a little bit yesterday and today to see how it feels. Unfortunately there were no improvements today, so I will need to do probably the rest of the week off and at some point head back to Norway, hopefully get ready for the South American swing.

“I always try to look ahead. Even though it's a tough decision, tough day today, I'm sure I will find motivation to work hard, get strong and fit again, be ready for some tournaments down in the Golden Swing.”