HOBART, Australia, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Former world No. 1 Venus Williams has withdrawn from the 2014 Hobart International while Australian national Sam Stosur returns after a successful decade, a tournament director said on Sunday.
"Venus Williams has confirmed today that she will not be making an appearance at the Hobart International. I know it was a hard decision and we wish her the best of luck for the Australian Open, " Tournament director Mark Handley said.
"After a long week during my first tournament of the year, my body needs time to rest and recover," Williams said. " Unfortunately, I am not able to play this week in Hobart. I was looking forward to playing in Tasmania and I sincerely do hope to play there in the coming years."
Williams was drawn to play Italian sixth seed Flavia Pennetta in the first round. Lucky loser Silvia Soler-Espinosa from Spain would replace her in the draw.
Top seed Stosur just finished an unsuccessful try with compatriot Bernard Tomic to win Australia the Hopman Cup in Perth. Her last Hobart International appearance was in 2004 when she was only 19 and on the verge of breaking into the world's top 100.
A decade later, Stosur has bagged 2011 U.S. Open trophy and has become one of the most successful women players in Australian tennis.
"I'm a completely different player to what I was back then. I'd like to think I'm a lot more consistent and know what I'm doing. Ten years is a long time, especially in tennis," she said.
Stosur usually competes in Sydney in the week before the Australian Open, but opted to change her schedule in 2014 to include the Hobart International.
"It is good to do something different and I knew this tournament was a nice one, so I thought why not?" she said.