Setback for Serena as she goes under the knife
Serena Williams' preparations for the Australian Open could be hampered after the world No. 3 was forced to undergo surgery on a chronic foot problem.
Williams, who was named WTA Player of the Year in 2012, has subsequently pulled out of an exhibition match against world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in Thailand later this month.
"I am being advised by my doctors to take more time to heal following a minor procedure I needed to address my ongoing foot issues," Williams said.
A medical certificate from podiatrist Jeffrey Rockefeller says the 15-time grand slam champion was "treated for a chronic foot disorder which involved minor procedures on both of her great toes".
Li Na has stepped into replace Williams at the World Tennis Invitation event in Hua Hin on December 29.
Williams is expected to return to action at the Brisbane International before heading to Melbourne for the first major of the year, which begins on January 14.