Australia's top women's player Ajla Tomljanovic has withdrawn from the Australian Open after failing to overcome an injury. Tomljanović copped a tough draw on Thursday with a predicted second round match-up against 2020 champion Sofia Kenin or two-time Open winner Victoria Azarenka in round two.
If she were to have made it to round 3, 2022 Wimbledon and US Open quarter-finalist Madison Keys could be waiting. However, Australia won't get to see Tomljanović play at Melbourne Park next week after the 29-year-old admitted her pain in withdrawing from the grand slam.
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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 year's Australian Open," she wrote.
"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 be surrounded by the incredible love and atmosphere."
Only moments after Tomljanovic withdrew, Spanish World No.16 Paula Badosa also pulled out of the tournament.
Badosa said she hasn't recovered from an injury suffered during the Adelaide International quarter-final.
"Sad to miss Australian Open this year, really going to miss it," she wrote.
Tomljanovic's withdrawal is another blow to the Australian Open. Naomi Osaka withdrew from the tournament, which. she followed up with a pregnancy announcement.
British superstar Emma Raducanu is also in a race to be fit after picking up an injury in the lead-up tournament. On the men's side, World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz withdrew due to injury.
Ajla Tomljanovic coming off great 2022 season
The 29-year-old was in line for a precious first-time grand slam seeding at her home major until a knee injury forced her to withdraw from the season-opening United Cup.
As a result, Tomljanovic dropped two places in the rankings on Monday, the day the seedings were announced, after Keys and Pegula led the US to victory in the new mixed teams' event with 13 dominant wins between them from 14 matches.
Also a star of Australia's charge to last year's Billie Jean King Cup final, Tomljanovic enjoyed her finest season in 2022.
In addition to famously ending Serena Williams' decorated career in New York, Tomljanovic became the first Australian woman since former world No.1 Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1979 to reach the quarter-finals at both Wimbledon and the US Open in a calendar year.
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