Safarova to miss Australian Open

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Lucie Safarova will miss the Australian Open as she continues to be troubled by a bacterial infection.

The world number nine spent a week in hospital last September after being laid low by an illness that ensured she missed the Czech Republic's Fed Cup final victory over Russia.

Safarova's health problems came in a year in which she reached the final of the French Open, surged to fifth in the WTA singles rankings and also won the doubles titles at Roland Garros and the Australian Open.

The 28-year-old withdrew from the Hopman Cup, which is currently taking place in Perth, and will also miss the first grand slam of the year in Melbourne later this month.

"The treatment of my bacterial infection has become complicated in recent days," said Safarova.

"I couldn't do the training that would allow me to fly to the tournaments in Australia well prepared. That's why I have decided to pull out, not to burden the organism by travelling, and focus on treatment and gradual convalescence.

"My joints still hurt and so I can't prepare the way I and my coach would like. The bio-chemical checks are not 100 per cent either."