Injured Baghdatis pulls out of ATP Sydney Int’l

Defending champion Marcos Baghdatis pulled out of the Sydney International with a groin injury a week before the start of the Australian Open.

Baghdatis, who beat Frenchman Richard Gasquet in last year’s Sydney final, said on Monday he did not want to risk the injury ahead of the year’s first Grand Slam tournament in Melbourne.

“It’s been four days I have pain,” 21st-ranked Baghdatis said. “I don’t want to risk too much by going in the match and making it worse, so I took the decision today with my team not to participate here.

“I’ve been working on it with my physio. I cannot say it is not better. It is a bit better, but I just don’t want to risk it with the Australian Open coming on.”

Baghdatis, 25, who lost to Roger Federer in the 2006 Australian Open final, will be replaced in the Sydney men’s draw by lucky loser Lukasz Kubot of Poland, who goes straight into the second round.