Justine Henin-Hardenne has withdrawn from the Australian Open for undisclosed personal reasons. Australian Open spokesman John Lindsay on Thursday confirmed the World No. 1-ranked Henin-Hardenne, losing finalist at the season-opening major last year, would not play at the January 15-28 event.
Lindsay said Australian Open officials checked with the women's tennis tour after the Belgian player withdrew from next week's Sydney International and were told Henin-Hardenne would not be playing in Melbourne either.
No official reason was given, although Henin-Hardenne was expected to release a statement Friday.
Sydney International tournament director Craig Watson said senior officials from the WTA Tour informed them of Henin-Hardenne's decision on Thursday.
"I was told the withdrawal was for personal reasons," Watson said. "Obviously we are very disappointed; Justine is our defending champion."
"I believe she is quite upset and we certainly wish her the best and hope she is able to return to the courts very soon." Amelie Mauresmo, who won the Australian Open and Wimbledon last year, will take over as the top seed for the Sydney tournament which begins on Monday.