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Davydenko pulls out of Australian Open

NIKOLAY Davydenko will miss the Australian Open because of an injury in his left heel.

The fifth-ranked Russian also pulled out of the Chennai Open, where he was the top seeded player and was to face Lucas Dlouhy of Czech Republic in the second round yesterday.

"I'm having acute pain in my left heel that flared up last week," Davydenko said. "I've had painkillers even today and the doctors here in Chennai have tried some therapy for a few days, but I now need to fix this before playing any more tournaments. It's obviously serious since I'll even miss the Australian Open."

The 27-year-old Davydenko featured among the top five for the fourth successive year in 2008, but said the injury bothered him last season.

"The problem started last year, but I thought I could still continue playing. It was (painful) even when I played the Shanghai Masters in November," said Davydenko, who lost the final of that event to Novak Djokovic. "I need to check my heel and that's why I'm going home, to see what's happening and what's wrong. I really don't know exact nature of my injury and the extent of damage.

"The pain's been there for two months, but I thought I could continue playing since it wasn't too painful. It has become unbearable during the past two weeks."

Davydenko said he hadn't had a scan on his heel since the pain worsened last week at an exhibition event in the United Arab Emirates, which also featured Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick.

"It was during the game against Roddick that it started playing up, but I somehow managed. Against Nadal, it was really bad but I continued to play," Davydenko said. "And here in Chennai, I just couldn't do anything when I woke up today after playing my first match yesterday. I can't run and I can't play. I know that I may not return to the court soon."


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