Isner and Monfils withdraw from Heineken Open

There's been a double blow ahead of next week's Heineken Open tournament with organisers announcing the withdrawals of defending champion John Isner and crowd favourite Gael Monfils.

Isner, the World No. 18, has decided to bypass the tournament in favour of spending the week in Melbourne in preparation for the Australian Open.

The 2014 Heineken Open champion is currently in Perth playing the Hopman Cup exhibition event.

Heineken Open tournament director Karl Budge says he's frustrated Isner chose to play an exhibition event in favour of an ATP tournament.

"As you can imagine, we were very disappointed to receive this news but unfortunately it's something we have little control over."

The American issued a statement announcing his withdrawal and his regret at not being able to play in New Zealand.

"I am really disappointed to withdraw from Auckland, one of my favourite stops of the year," he says.

"As much as I would like to be competing in Auckland to defend my title, I feel at this time it is best for me to hit the practice courts in advance of the Australian Open."

Fellow top 20 player Monfils has also pulled from the field with tournament organisers citing "personal reasons" as the reason for the Frenchman's withdrawal.

In a statement, the former top 10 player says he is "deeply disappointed for the fans since I love the tournament and keep great memories of my last visit in New Zealand."

The announcement comes after organisers also confirmed Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal would not be competing, after the World No. 3 was offered a late wildcard into the tournament after an early loss in Doha this week.

Despite the major withdrawals, Budge says this year's Heineken Open field is still one of the strongest in the event's history, with five top 20 players in the main draw.

World No. 10 David Ferrer will once again be the top seed at the tournament, with the Spaniard gunning for a fifth Heineken Open title.

John Isner in action at Heineken Open

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