Tallinn (Estonia), Nov 12 (IANS/RIA Novosti) World No.19 Kaia Kanepi is set to miss the Australian Open in January as she struggles to return from injury.
The Estonian is recovering from heel surgery that she underwent in late October and returned to light training Monday.
"I will be able to play tennis at full strength in January," Kanepi said on Estonian television, but conceded she was unlikely to play at the Australian Open, where main draw action starts Jan 14.
Kanepi won the Brisbane title last year, but the news casts into doubt her ability to defend it at the Australian Open warm-up event, which starts Dec 30.
The Estonian's heel problems disrupted her fight to establish herself in the top 20 last season, ruling her out for much of the summer.
Kanepi, 27, reached a career-high ranking of 15th in August and won her third WTA title in Estoril in May.
Her best result at the Australian Open came when she reached the third round in 2009 before losing to eventual finalist Dinara Safina.