Ana Ivanovic suffered a stomach injury that forced Serbia to withdraw from the Hopman Cup final.
Serbia's team, who was top seeds and topped Group A by winning two of their three round-robin ties will be replaced by Belgium, which were second in the group A.
There is the rule that the player can be replaced, but unfortunately only during the group stage. Tournament director Paul McNamee confirmed that Belgium would replace Serbia in the final.
"The rules are very clear. In the round robin if a player can't play they can be substituted by another player, but if a player cannot play the final, the team that is second-placed in the group goes through to the final," he said.
Ana sustained the injury during her straight sets loss to Justine Henin on Thursday, with a scan on Friday afternoon revealing the extent of the damage which make her doubtful for Australian Open.
"It's obviously a significant strain," tournament director McNamee told reporters. "She's pretty upset."
She was due to play at the Sydney International next week, but is now expected to miss that tournament as she battles to be fit for the year's first Grand Slam later this month. McNamee said he did not know whether she would be able to play in Melbourne.
"It probably has implications for her, not just tomorrow (in the Hopman Cup final), but also this month."
McNamee also said reigning French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, was not in doubt for the Australian Open, despite retiring from her singles match on Friday with an upper leg injury.
Schiavone, who had medical staff strap her right thigh early in the match when she pulled up sore, was locked at 4-4 in the first set with France's Kristina Mladenovic when she threw in the towel.
"No problem," he said when asked if her Australian Open campaign was in doubt.
(photo/AP Photo via daylife)
Posted by Lana On 1/07/2011 11:42:00 AM