Venus Williams has withdrawn from the Australian Open In a heartbreaking development for the 42-year-old veteran. The American champion has been awarded a wildcard to play in the Grand Slams at Melbourne Park, starting January 16.
But organizers announced on Saturday that she had been forced to withdraw due to an undisclosed injury at the ASB Classic in Auckland. Australian Kim Pearl was awarded a wildcard as a result of Williams’ withdrawal.
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The 2023 Australian Open was Williams’ 22nd appearance at the event. The 42-year-old won seven Grand Slam titles, reached the final at the Australian Open twice, and lost to her sister Serena in 2017 while Serena was pregnant. She also lost to her sister in the final in 2003.
Williams is now ranked 1,003 in the world after a series of misfortunes. She last played at the Australian Open in 2021 when she injured an ankle and knee when stumbling awkwardly into the net in a second-round match against Sara Errani.
Williams has struggled with injuries over the past two years and has only played four tournaments in 2022, all of which were held in the United States last August. She lost in the first round in all four events and ended her season after being beaten by Alison Van Uytvanck at the US Open.
Her 2023 season started brightly when she beat fellow American Katie Volynts in Oakland. She then lost to China’s Zhou Lin in three sets in the second round before her injury surfaced.
Williams said she was looking forward to the Australian Open when she received a wildcard in December. “I’m so excited to be back in Melbourne to compete in the Australian Open in January,” she said.
“I have been competing in the country for over 20 years now and the Australian community has always supported me wholeheartedly. It will be an honor to play for the fans again and I look forward to making more memories of the tournament this year.”
Fans took to social media to express their disappointment at her withdrawal on Saturday.
Carlos Alcaraz from the Australian Open as well
Williams’ withdrawal came just hours after claiming the men’s world number one Carlos Alcaraz also announced that he will be out Australian Open Championship. The 19-year-old, who won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open last year, said he picked up a hamstring injury during pre-season training.
Alcaraz posted on social media: “I worked a lot to reach my best level in Australia. Unfortunately I won’t be able to play Care A2+ Kooyong (warm-up event) or the Australian Open.” “It’s a difficult moment, but I have to be optimistic, recover and look forward. See you at the 2024 Australian Open.”
The Spaniard had just recovered from a torn abdominal muscle that kept him out of the ATP Finals and Davis Cup Finals. He added, “When I was at my best pre-season, I had an injury by chance, unnatural movement in training. This time it’s the semi-membranous muscle in my right leg.”
His withdrawal means compatriot Rafa Nadal is the new No. 1 seed in the first Grand Slam of the year. It also witnesses world No. 5 Novak Djokovic immediately moving up the draw, cementing his place as the short-priced favorite to win his 10th title at Melbourne Park and a leading 22nd overall.
But the Serbian superstar is dealing with an injury issue of his own after receiving a hamstring complaint at the Adelaide International Stadium on Saturday night. Djokovic took medical leave and left the courtHowever, he managed to defeat Daniil Medvedev 6-3 6-4 to advance to the final.
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