New Zealand's number one tennis player Marina Erakovic has been forced to pull out of next month's ASB Classic in Auckland due to an injury.
Erakovic has failed to recover from an ongoing back injury and will spend the summer rehabilitating.
"With great regret, I confirm that I will not be able to compete at the 2018 ASB Classic and Australian Open. Unfortunately, due to an ongoing injury with my back, I need more rehabilitation and recovery time,'' she said.
''As a result, my return to competition is still uncertain and I will be applying for a protected ranking.''
Tournament Director, Karl Budge says Erakovic has played a huge part in NZ tennis and she will be missed at the tournament.
"It is such a shame for Marina, her fans and obviously for the ASB Classic as we would have loved to see Marina on court.
''She has led women's tennis in this country for a decade and will be a strange feeling starting a week without our Kiwi number one in the draw.''
The ASB Classic will span two weeks; the women's tournament kicking off on January 1-6, followed by the men's tournament from January 8-13.
The strong women's field has Caroline Wozniacki as top seed with Victoria Azarenka sure to be a crowd favourite.