Illness forces Kvitova out of Brisbane event

Czech tennis star Petra Kvitova was forced to pull out of the Brisbane International due to a viral illness on Monday.

The 27-year-old was unable to play her first round match against Anett Kontaveit of Estonia and has been replaced in the draw by Britain’s Heather Watson.

In an interview carried by the WTA website, the two-time Wimbledon champion said she was disappointed at not being able to play in Brisbane ahead of the upcoming Australian Open.

“I’m really disappointed to withdraw from the Brisbane International,” Kvitova told the WTA website.

“Unfortunately I picked up a virus on the flight to Australia and I haven’t been able to get healthy in time to play here.

“It’s always a fantastic and competitive place to start the year so I’m sorry not to be in the draw.”

Former world number two, Kvitova, is a previous winner of the Brisbane event having defeated Germany’s Andrea Petkovic in the 2011 final.