World number one Justine Henin-Hardenne has revealed she will not compete in the Australian Open for family reasons.
The diminutive Belgian announced she would not participate in the WTA series of tournaments to be staged Down Under, including the Open itself.
The French Open champion said in a statement on www.henin-hardenne.be: “I have to withdraw from the Australian tournaments for personal family reasons.
“A new calendar schedule will be made once I have decided, and I will return to you. I want to thank you in advance for respecting my choices, and my private life.”
The 24-year-old ended 2006 on top of the WTA rankings but will not now defend her Sydney title nor enter the opening grand slam event of the season in Melbourne on January 15.
Henin-Hardenne has won five career grand slam titles and only needs to triumph at Wimbledon to compete a career slam.
She won the Australian Open in 2004, the US Open the year before and has three times prevailed at Roland Garros in Paris where she will defend her title this year.