Nicolas Escude will be out of action till 2004

Nicolas Escude has ruled himself out of action until next year because of a hip injury. The Frenchman picked up the injury while playing Juan Carlos Ferrero at Wimbledon in July. He received lengthy treatment before being forced to retire from the match.

"I will not play again until 2004," Escude told the French sports newspaper L'Equipe. "Until then, an operation is out of the question because it holds no guarantee of success. "I will take a complete break, three or four months, and then we will see what happens." Escude, winner of three singles titles since 1999, was part of France's triumphant Davis Cup side which beat Australia in Melbourne two years ago.