A lingering ankle injury will keep tennis great Andre Agassi from playing in the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the season.

Agassi's management company issued a statement in Australia Thursday saying the former Australian Open champion would not play in the event beginning January 16. The 35-year-old Agassi has also withdrawn from the Kooyong exhibition event next week.

Agassi sustained a severe sprain to his left ankle on October 12 while playing racquetball. The injury initially forced his withdrawal from the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai in November. Agassi finished 2005 ranked number seven by the Association of Tennis Professionals. Agassi has won eight career Grand Slam titles. Half of them were at the Australian Open.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.