Karolina Pliskova has become the highest-ranked player to withdraw from the Australian Open.
The world number four posted a picture of herself on social media with her right forearm in a plaster cast after injuring her hand in practice.
Pliskova wrote: “Some days are worse than others. Unfortunately I will be out for a while and will not compete at my favourite tournaments in Australia. But time and believe (sic) can heal everything.”
The 29-year-old Czech was resurgent in 2021, reaching her second grand slam final at Wimbledon, where she was defeated in a tight contest by Ashleigh Barty.
The injury ends Pliskova’s streak of competing in 35 consecutive grand slam tournaments, with this the first one she will miss since the 2012 US Open, where she failed to qualify.
She joins Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu as high-profile absentees from the first grand slam of the new season, which begins on January 17.