Australia’s top women’s hope Ajla Tomljanovic has pulled out of her home grand slam just two days out from the Australian Open, which begins on Monday.
The 29-year-old was set to head into the first major of the year as Australia’s top-ranked female in the absence of the retired Ash Barty.
Watch Tennis Live with beIN SPORTS on Kayo. Live Coverage of ATP + WTA Tour Tournaments including Every Finals Match. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
But Tomljanovic won’t be competing at Melbourne Park after she revealed she hasn’t recovered from injury in time.
“It absolutely pains me to write this but unfortunately I won’t be able to compete at this years Australian Open,” the World No. 35 posted on Twitter on Saturday with the caption “I’m sorry”.
“I’ve done 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 play 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, I’m gonna miss you guys bit time this year.”
Tomljanovic had withdrawn from the United Cup team event in late December, citing a left knee injury.
The Australian had enjoyed a career-best year on tour in 2022, reaching the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and the US Open.
Tomljanovic effectively ended the career of Serena Williams at Flushing Meadows, knocking out the 23-time grand slam champion in the third round.
She had been dealt a horror Australian Open draw after her scheduled first round match with world No. 192 Nadia Podoroska.
Tomljanovic’s projected run would have seen her likely face Victoria Azarenka (R2), Madison Keys (R3), Maria Sakkari (R4), Jessica Pegula (QF), (SF) Iga Swiatek, and Ons Jabeur if she progresses all the way to the final.
Tomljanovic’s withdrawal means for the first time ever, all the Australian women in the 128-player singles draw are wildcards.
Australia’s top-ranked women’s player in the draw is now World No. 160 Jaimee Fourlis.
It paints a bleak picture for the Aussies in the first Australian Open since Barty retired following her sensational win at last year’s Grand Slam.
With defending champion Barty retired and Daria Saville out injured, it could be a bleak couple of weeks for fans of Australian women’s tennis.
Contender pulls out, women’s draw crumbling
The Australian Open women’s singles draw is crumbling before our eyes after title contender Paula Badosa also pulled out because of injury.
The 11th seed had been in excellent form but withdrew after failing to recover from an injury she sustained at the Adelaide International.
Badosa posted on Saturday: “Bad news…During the quarterfinal match in Adelaide, I hurt myself and after receiving the results I will have to be out a few weeks.
“Sad to miss the Australian Open this year, really going to miss it. I will do everything I can to return as soon as possible.”
Tomljanovic and Badosa are just the latest players to pull out of the Australian Open to leave the women’s draw wide open.
Two-time champion Naomi Osaka won’t be playing in Melbourne after she announced she was pregnant with her first child, while Venus Williams has also pulled the pin.
Victoria Azarenka and Sofia Kenin are the only to former Australian Open champions who will be playing in the 2023 Australian Open.
One the men’s side, World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz has pulled out due to a leg injury.