World number 11 Nadia Petrova has pulled out of the ASB Classic tennis tournament.
The second seeded Russian has been hospitalised with viral meningitis, so travelling to Auckland for the January 5 tournament start has been ruled out.
Tournament director Brenda Perry said it was "a shame" Petrova, 26, would no longer be competing.
"I know she was looking forward to playing the ASB Classic, but in this situation she is obviously in need of medical care and our thoughts go out to her."
Three other top-20 ranked women were confirmed for the tournament, including world No 4 Elena Dementieva.
Are prices to watch live rugby too high?Related story: (See story)