Li Na announced on Thursday that she will be forced to miss the US Open with a knee injury.
The world number two has been ruled out for the whole of August, meaning she will also miss tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati.
The injury has been a problem for the Chinese player since March, and she announced on her Facebook page that she will not be able to participate in the final Grand Slam of the year.
The two-time Grand Slam winner wrote on her Facebook page: “I wanted to let all of my great fans know that unfortunately I am going to have to withdraw from the upcoming WTA events in Montreal and Cincinnati, as well as the US Open. Since March, I have been struggling with my knee and it is just not where I need it to be in order to play at the highest level.”
Li also told her supporters when she expects to return to action, which will be in the Autumn.
“My medical team has advised me that I need to take some time off to rest my knee so it heels. I look forward to getting back on the court this fall in Wuhan and Beijing.”
Her revelation that she has had the injury since March could explain a loss in form that the 32-year-old has suffered since then, as she has not made it to the semi-finals of a tournament since losing to world number one Serena Williams in the final in Miami near the end of March.
Among her disappointments in that time have been early exits from the French Open and Wimbledon, as she failed to make the fourth round of either tournament.
The tennis world was stunned when she was knocked out in the first round at Roland Garros by Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic in the first round in May.
She then played in no other tournaments before playing at the All England Club in June, where she was beaten in the third round by Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.
What has been more surprising about Li’s recent form is that she began the year as the player to beat on the WTA tour, as she won the Australian Open for the first time in January, beating Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova in the final in two sets.
Her early season form, which also included winning a singles title in Shenzhen, China, helped Li rise to second in the world rankings, the highest of her career.
Missing the hard court season will mean that her world ranking is set to drop by at least three positions, as she is set to lose 1500 ranking points, after reaching the semi-finals in all three tournaments that she is set to miss this year in 2013.
Li’s run to the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows last year was the first time she had reached the last four at the tournament, where she was beaten by Williams.
She is not the only player near the top of the rankings to be suffering with injury, as Williams has just returned to action after suffering from a virus and world number ten Victoria Azarenka has only recently returned from a foot injury.