Kyle Edmund has had a second knee operation and will not be able to make his comeback on the grass this summer.
The former British number one has not played since October 2020, and had a first operation on his left knee in Switzerland in March last year.
A further minor procedure took place in the UK last Thursday, and 27-year-old Edmund – who is already walking – hopes to be back on court next month.
But a return to Grand Slam tennis at Wimbledon is now out of the question.
August’s US Open is the new target if all goes to plan.
Last week’s operation to “clean up” the knee was deemed necessary as Edmund had started to feel increasing discomfort on the practice court.
The frustration is heightened by the fact that for the first time since October 2018, when a scan revealed fluid behind his knee, Edmund seemed to be making real progress with the injury.
He reached the Australian Open semi-finals in 2018, and achieved a career-high ranking of 14 after winning the European Open later that year.
His ranking now stands at 328, but he will be entitled to use a protected ranking just inside the top 50 when he finally does return.
That will enable Edmund to enter at least 12 tournaments in 12 months at the ranking he had when the injury first affected him.