Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga suffered an untimely injury scare during his final Hopman Cup singles match on Friday.
In a major blow just over a week out from the Australian Open, Tsonga, 27, appeared to suffer a groin strain when stretching for a shot during the latter stages of his clash with South African Kevin Anderson at the mixed teams tournament.
The world number eight was clearly discomforted by the problem, despite beating Anderson in straight sets 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/3).
Tsonga, now coached by Australian Roger Rasheed, returned to the court a short while later for the mixed doubles, but retired early in the second set.
That handed South Africa a 2-1 win in the tie, although the result was largely irrelevant with both nations already out of contention in the mixed teams tournament.
With the Australian Open in Melbourne starting in a week from Monday, Tsonga said he couldn't afford to risk the injury.
“I don't know exactly what I have, but I felt something during the singles,” he said.
“It was a bit short between the singles and the mixed doubles and I didn't have time to know exactly what it was.
“It was a bit sore during the mixed doubles, so for me it was better to quit.
“I didn't have time for some medical exams, but I cannot take a risk.”
Tsonga was pleased with his form prior to injury, winning all his singles matches.
He was the third player this week to have their tournament cut short by injury, with Germany's Andrea Petkovic and American John Isner both succumbing to knee problems earlier in the Hopman Cup.
The French were a set ahead in the deciding mixed doubles when Tsonga retired and were leading 3-6, 2-1.
Earlier, the women's singles proved to be a marathon match between the 60th-ranked Chanelle Scheepers and 87th-ranked Mathilde Johansson.
Johansson took the first set, but Scheepers clawed her way back in an error-riddled encounter to win in three sets, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Between them, the pair made 111 unforced errors as they slugged it out from the baseline and there was no shortage of opportunities to break serve.
There were 33 break points and 15 breaks of serve during the match. – AFP