Russian tennis star Nadia Petrova has pulled out of January’s Australian Open following the death in a car accident of her mother, herself an Olympic athletics bronze medallist.
Also out of the season-opening grand slam in Melbourne is another top Russian player, Maria Kirilenko, who is injured.
The withdrawal of both players was reported by Russian media and confirmed on the official Twitter account of the Australian Open.
Petrova’s mother Nadezhda Ilyina, died in a car accident in the Moscow region on December 7.
A successful 400 metre runner, she won a bronze in the 4×400 relay in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.
She had also held the USSR record in both the 400 metres and the 4×400 metres relay as well as the world record for 400 metres indoors.
“Our condolences to Nadia Petrova who’s withdrawn from Ausopen following the tragic loss of her mother,” the Australian Open organisers said.