Friday, January 13, 2012
In December, former world No.4 American James Blake, who is now ranked 59th, cited personal reasons for his withdrawal.
He will be replaced by Ricardo Mello of Brazil in the draw for the Brisbane tournament, which starts on Sunday and is a key lead-up event for the Australian Open starting on January 16.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said he was sorry to hear of Blake's withdrawal and wished him "all the best''.
The 31-year-old's absence struck a chord with Tiley, who coached the University of Illinois men's tennis team from 1993 to 2005.
The pair crossed paths often during that period, with Blake playing two seasons at Harvard from 1998-99 during which time he was the No.1 collegiate player in the United States.
"He's a great competitor and I've been involved with James' tennis for over 15 years,'' Tiley recalled.
"I coached against him and I've known him for a long time. He's always fun to have around. It's disappointing not to have him at the Australian Open.''