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Tennis news | Ajla Tomljanovic and Paula Badosa withdraw from Australian Open 2023

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A dejected Alja Tomljanovic says the knee injury that ruled her out of the Australian Open was “the worst thing that could have happened” this year.

On Saturday, the Australian Open was rocked by the withdrawal of its top local prospect in the women’s match just two days away from its scheduled opener.

Tomljanovic, who was also an early United Cup exit, took to social media to confirm his absence from the Melbourne Grand Slam.

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Although not ranked ahead of the tournament, she remains Australia’s highest ranked female tennis player in the WTA with a ranking of 35.

Speaking after her withdrawal, Tomljanovic said she had a problem which erupted in December.

The 29-year-old spoke of an uncertain future and raised the possibility of surgery, although she admitted she would prefer “conservative methods”.

“If you ask me, this is probably the worst time ever,” she said.

“I’m sure I would have found and said that even if it had happened six months from now, it would have been the worst thing ever.

“If I’m taking a 15 second pity party it shouldn’t have happened now. This is the time when I feel my best in every way and I go into a slam having really feel like I deserve to even be a competitor.

“I mean, I feel like that. I don’t come here and pretend.

“So in a way am I going to have to start from scratch? Probably not. It’s a bit unfair, but life is unfair. Part of our job, injuries will happen.”

Tomljanovic admitted she was “not close” to being fit enough to compete beyond the second week of the tournament.

Although she is improving, she eventually ran out of time to be ready.

Tomljanovic wasn’t the only high profile withdrawal on Saturday with 11th seed Paul Badosa announcing that he won’t be playing at the Australian Open either.

The Spaniard withdrew from her scheduled Adelaide International 2 semi-final on Friday due to a thigh injury that saw Dario Kasatkina win the final.

Badosa said she was injured in the quarter-final win over Beatriz Haddad Maia on Thursday.

Like Tomljanovic, Badosa was her country’s highest-ranked player – 16th in the WTA rankings.

“Bad news…in the quarter-final match in Adelaide, I hurt myself, and after receiving the results, I will have to sit out (for) a few weeks,” Badosa wrote.

“It’s sad to miss the Australian Open this year, I’m really going to miss it. I’ll do everything I can to get back as soon as possible.”

The women’s draw has already taken two hits with Naomi Osaka a late waiver with the announcement of her pregnancy.

Badosa and Tomljanovic will be replaced in the women’s draw at the Australian Open by the lucky Laura Pigossi and Leolia Jeanjean.

It is the first time in Grand Slam history that all Australian women in the 128-man singles draw have been wildcards.

Jaimee Fourlis, ranked 160th in the world, is the highest ranked Australian player in this event.

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