Top-ranked local hope Ajla Tomljanovic has withdrawn from the Australian Open.
The 29-year-old has been struggling with a knee issue in recent months, and despite her best efforts, has been unable to recover in time for the first grand slam of 2023.
The world No.35 missed out on representing Australia in the United Cup and will now be forced to watch her home major from the sidelines.
Tomljanovic took to social media on Saturday to reveal her withdrawal from the tournament.
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“It absolutely pains me to have to write this message but unfortunately I won’t be able to compete at this years Australian Open,” she said.
“I’ve done absolutely everything in my power to get healthy but just ran out of time to heal and be 100% ready to compete at a high level.
“It’s been a very tough decision to make but I have to listen to my body.
“It’s no secret that this is my favourite place to play so it hurts to miss out on a great opportunity to play in front of my home crowd and to be surrounded by the incredible love and atmosphere.
“To all my Aussie fans, I wanna say thank you for always supporting me and cheering me on, l’m gonna miss you guys big time this year.”
I’m sorry 😓 pic.twitter.com/UJSClRR5Kw
— Ajla Tomljanovic (@Ajlatom) January 14, 2023
Tomljanovic was slated to face Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska in the first round on Monday night.
The Croatian-born star had a solid 2022, making it through to the quarter-finals in both the US Open and Wimbledon, and was the best chance for the Aussies in the women’s draw following the retirement of Ash Barty.