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Monday, January 12, 2004
Back injury keeps Capriati out of first Slam event services

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Two-time Australian Open champion Jennifer Capriati withdrew from the Grand Slam tournament Tuesday because of a back injury.

Capriati, injured in November in the season-ending WTA Championship, also missed a tournament in Hong Kong last week.

The 27-year-old American, the 2001 and 2002 Australian Open winner, lost in the opening round last year, becoming the first defending champion to lose there in the first round.

Capriati, ranked world No. 6, is the fourth high-profile woman to withdraw. Serena Williams, the 2002 winner, withdrew last week, and Mary Pierce, the 1995 winner, pulled out because of fitness concerns.

Jelana Dokic, who hasn't appeared at Melbourne Park since she left Australia in 2001, has withdrawn from warmup tournaments in Australia citing "personal reasons," and is again expected to skip the Australian Open.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.