Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic returns a ball to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia during the International Tennis Federation Fed Cup final match between Czech Republic and Russia on November 14, 2015 in Prague. AFP PHOTO / MICHAL CIZEK (Photo credit should read MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images)

Defending champion Petra Kvitova has been forced to pull out of the APIA International in Sydney due to a gastrointestinal illness.

“I’m really disappointed to have to withdraw from the Apia Sydney International but unfortunately I am still not feeling well,” said Kvitova.

“Being defending champion, this tournament obviously means a lot to me and I’ve always had a wonderful time playing this event.

“I look forward to coming back in future years to play for my fantastic fans.”

Kvitova, the current world No.6, was due to face Sabine Lisicki in the opening round.