January 8, 2016 / 3:09 AM / 3 years ago

Sick Safarova to miss Australian Open

Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic hits a return to Angelique Kerber of Germany during their women's singles tennis match of the WTA Finals at the Singapore Indoor Stadium October 30, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - World number nine Lucie Safarova will miss this month’s Australian Open as she has yet to regain full fitness following a bacterial infection last year, the Czech said on Friday.

“As an athlete I’m used to fight, usually on the court to get a win, today it’s off court to get my health back,” the 28-year-old, who was runner-up at last year’s French Open, posted on social media.

“I’m really sad I will miss Australia this year! Sorry my friends and fans there! I hope I will be back in February!”

Safarova enjoyed a breakout year in 2015, winning the Australian Open and French Open doubles titles with American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and also reaching her first grand slam singles final in Paris.

Doubts also remain about the fitness of the top four women in tennis ahead of the Australian Open.

World number one Serena Williams (knee), Romania’s Simona Halep (Achilles), Garbine Muguruza of Spain (foot) and Russian Maria Sharapova (arm) all pulled out of matches in Australia this week due to various ailments.

The Australian Open gets underway on Jan. 18.

Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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