PETALING JAYA: Shuttler Lee Chong Wei have joined the cast of top guns in pulling out from the Australian Open in Sydney.
The 33-year-old Chong Wei who won the Indonesian Open on Sunday, withdrew on Monday citing a muscle injury.
The two-time Olympic silver medallist was seeded second and was initially drawn to meet Indonesian youngster Jonatan Christie in the first round.
“Chong Wei strained a muscle in his left hip before the final in Indonesia. As such he has to pull out from the Australian Open because this muscle supports his standing position and is affected by movements during match play,” said national singles coach Hendrawan.
Chong Wei’s withdrawal means the Australian meet has lost five of its top eight seeds.
The others who have also pulled out are world No.3 Lin Dan, world No.4 Viktor Axelsen and world No.5 Jan O Jorgensen - both of Denmark and Indonesia’s world No.8 Tommy Sugiarto.
Chen Long who is the top seed is now the overwhelming favourite to retain his title. He takes on homester Tang Huaidong in the first round on Wednesday.
Malaysia’s challenge in men’s singles will now be carried by world No.33 Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin and world No.38 Zulfadli Zulkiffli.