Ajla Tomljanovic's tennis comeback dealt fresh blow amid French Open development

Tomljanovic has been forced to pull out from only her second game back from injury with a neck problem.

Less than 24 hours after being given a wildcard for the upcoming French Open, Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic has been forced to medically retire from only her second match back from an injury layoff. In Tomljanovic's comeback tournament after a four-month absence, the former Australian No.1 had to pull out from the second round of the Parma Ladies Open in Italy with a neck problem.

After winning her first match back, Tomljanovic lasted just three games in Wednesday's (Thursday AEST) second-round clash with Mexican Renata Zarazua, pulling the pin 3-0 down after just 18 minutes of play. Officials at the WTA 125 event - Tomljanovic's first since the end of January - reported that the official reason for her withdrawal was a neck injury.

Ajla Tomljanovic pictured
Ajla Tomljanovic has been forced to pull out from only her second game back from injury with a neck problem. Image: Getty

Despite the grave concern for Tomljanovic given her extensive injury history, a spokesperson for the Aussie said the injury wasn't serious and her withdrawal was simply precautionary. "It was just precautionary. Nothing serious going on but as you can imagine coming back to high-level competitive tennis takes a bit of adjustment from the body again," a spokesperson for Tomljanovic told AAP.

On Wednesday it was announced the 31-year-old had been granted a wildcard for the French Open, which begins in 11 days at Roland Garros. And after being confirmed as an entrant for the tournament, the three-time grand slam quarter-finalist wasn't going to take any risks before then in what was her first tournament in four months.

The former Australian No.1 has dropped to 219 in the world rankings on the back of her recent injury layoff. Tomljanovic has only managed to play one grand slam in nearly two years after a horror 24 months punctuated with injury and illness.

Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic waves as she leaves the court after victory against Croatia's Petra Martic in their women's singles match on day three of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 17, 2024. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo by LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images)
On Wednesday it was announced that Ajla Tomljanovic had been awarded a wildcard for the French Open that begins in 11 days at Roland Garros.

After a long period out of action, the Aussie was still able to get a confidence boost in the first round, with a come-from-behind win over Italian Nuria Brancaccio. "I don't want to get too greedy. I think for me, it's just really important to just play," she said in an interview with the Parma sponsors, Iren after the round one win.

"If I get great results, it's a bonus right now because I've really just missed being and doing what I have been doing for all these years. The last year and a half have been really tough for me just to not play, so I want to stay really humble and just ask for as many matches as possible."


Before her string of injuries, Tomljanovic had made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open and was playing the best tennis of her career. That was until a knee problem reared its head, which required surgery.

As a result, Tomljanovic missed the 2023 Australian Open. Despite that, while injured she reached No.32 in the world but did not return to action until the US Open in September. However, after one match she was forced to withdraw after suffering from extreme fatigue.

On her return to the court, she won a WTA 125 tournament in Brazil before reaching the second round at the Australian Open in 2024. However, following the tournament she revealed she had undergone surgery to remove non-cancerous uterine tumours. The Parma Ladies Open marked her first match since losing to Hungarian qualifier Dalma Galfi at the Thailand Open at the start of February.

with AAP