Australian women’s tennis star No.1 Ajla Tomljanovic has been forced out of the Australian Open with a lingering knee injury.
Tomljanovic has previously withdrawn from the United Cup and the Adelaide International and confirmed on Saturday that she was unable to recover in time to compete in her domestic Grand Slam.
The 29-year-old’s withdrawal is a hammer blow to Australia’s hopes of a homegrown women’s player going deep into the tournament following the withdrawal of 2022 champion Ash Barty.
Tomljanovic posted the words “Sorry” on Twitter with a longer statement confirming her withdrawal attached to the post.
“It pains me to write this message, but unfortunately I will not be able to compete in this year’s Australian Open,” he said in the statement.
“I’ve been doing everything I can to get healthy, but the time has just run out for me to heal and be 100 percent ready to compete at a high level.
“It was a very difficult decision to make, but I have to listen to my body.
“It’s no secret that this is my favorite place to play, so it hurts me to miss out on a great opportunity to play in front of my home crowd and be surrounded by the incredible love and atmosphere.
“To my Aussie fans, I want to say thank you for always supporting me and cheering me on, I’m going to miss you so much this year.”
Tomljanovic, a quarter-finalist at Wimbledon and the US Open last year, was in line for a valuable first-ever grand slam on home soil until injury destroyed her lead and sent her down the rankings.
Her messy condition had given her a difficult draw.
The Australian was due to play Argentina’s No.192 Nadia Pontorska first, but then faced either Sofia Kenin or Victoria Azarenka in the second round.