Former world No. 19 Donna Vekic has withdrawn from a WTA event scheduled to take place at Melbourne Park ahead of the Australian Open. Following the withdrawal of Vekic, a place in the tournament's main draw opened for Amanda Anisimova.
Vekic, now ranked at No. 68 in the world, kicked off her 2021 season in Melbourne, where she played the Yarra Valley Classic.
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After a first round bye, Vekic lost to Tsvetana Pironkova. Despite the early loss at the Yara Valley Classic, Vekic managed to put up a solid run at Melbourne Park at the Australian Open and make the round-of-16. Unfortunately for Vekic, the pain in her knee was too big so she decided to undergo a surgery.
Vekic admitted 2021 was a 'difficult year'
"I rested quite well, but I already started preparations this week. There is not much time this year, Christmas and the trip to Australia will be coming soon, so we should make the most of this time," Vekic told Sportske Novosti in late November.
"This was a really extremely difficult year, my first big injury and surgery happened. I didn't even know what to expect after that, the recovery was really long and painful, but the year ended successfully and I am looking forward to the next season in which I will, I hope, be ready and healthy and play tennis again without pain."
It was a difficult season for Vekic but it finished on a positive way. In her last tournament of the season, Vekic beat Clara Tauson in the Courmayeur final to lift her first WTA title since 2017. "That title was a proof to myself that all the work and effort I put in was not for nothing and that it still pays off to train, work, invest effort in recovery and all other things that are not pleasant as playing on the court. It’s definitely an extra motivation for me for everything that will come," Vekic noted.