Home hopes took an unexpected beating on Saturday as Ajla Tomljanovic was forced to withdraw less than 48 hours before the Australian Open start due to injury.

The three-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist – who beat Serena Williams at the US Open four months ago – suffered a United Cup withdrawal just days ago due to a knee problem.

“It absolutely pains me to have to write this message but unfortunately I won’t be able to compete at this year’s Australian Open,” the 29-year-old posted on social media.

“I’ve done absolutely everything in my power to get healthy but just ran out of time to heal and be 100 per cent ready to compete at a high level.

“It’s been a very tough decision to make but I have to listen to my body.”

Tomljanovic added: “It’s no secret that this is my favourite place to play so it hurts to miss out on a great opportunity to play in front of my home crowd and be surrounded by the incredible love and atmosphere.”

The No. 35 will miss out on what would have been her first seeded start at a Grand Slam; she has never been past the second round at Melbourne Park.