Venus Williams withdraws from Australian Open
Tuesday 10 January 2012
Venus Williams has withdrawn from the Australian Open, prolonging her absence from the tennis tour because of an autoimmune disease that can cause fatigue and joint pain.
The seven-time Grand Slam title winner announced Monday on Twitter and on her website that she wouldn't play in the year's first major tournament, which starts Monday. She added, though, that she plans to be back in action next month.
Williams hasn't played competitively since Aug. 29 at the U.S. Open. Two days later, she pulled out of that tournament, revealing that she'd been diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome.
"I regret to announce that I am withdrawing from the 2012 Australian Open. After several months of training and treatment, I am making steady progress to top competitive form. My diet and fitness regimen have allowed me to make great strides in terms of my health and I am very close to being ready to return to WTA competition," Williams said in a posting on her website Monday. "I have every intention to return to the circuit in February."
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said Williams was "very disappointed" that she was not able to play in Melbourne.
"She had hoped she'd be further along in her preparation but is not quite ready for Grand Slam competition," Tiley said in an email to The Associated Press. "She's an amazing champion and she's had a tough year battling illness and injury. We wish her all the best and look forward to seeing her back in Australia soon."
Top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki, a former doubles partner of Williams, said the American's health must come first.
"She's been unlucky with the virus thing," Wozniacki said after her second-round win Tuesday at the Sydney International. "I'm not completely sure what it is exactly, but the most important thing is the health.
"Tennis, it's a game. I'm sure she'll come back and fight and try to come back to the top again. But most of all, the most important thing is that you're healthy. Hopefully she'll be 100 percent healthy by February."
The 31-year-old American is a former No. 1 who is 100th in this week's WTA rankings. She's dealt with a series of health problems, including a hip injury that forced her to withdraw from last year's Australian Open, and a left knee injury that kept her on the sideline between Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2010.
Since reaching the semifinals at the 2010 U.S. Open, Williams has played only 11 matches.
After winning her opener at Flushing Meadows in August — which was Williams' first match in two months — she withdrew shortly before her second-round match there.
At that time, she described the way she'd been feeling as "energy-sucking, and I just couldn't play pro tennis."
Her younger sister Serena, whose 13 Grand Slam titles include five at the Australian Open, badly sprained her left ankle at a tournament in Brisbane last week. It's not clear whether Serena will be able to play at the Australian Open, although she appeared to be training well Tuesday at Melbourne Park and free of any major concerns about her ankle.
Arsenal vs Aston Villa preview: I need to prove myself again at Villa, says Scott Sinclair
Transfer news and rumours LIVE: Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea, Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester City, United want Gareth Bale
Chelsea vs Manchester City player ratings: David Silva saves the day but which City star stole the show at Stamford Bridge?
Arsene Wenger photobombs Arsenal photo shoot - manages to look like famous 'Bigfoot' picture
Serena Williams wins Australia Open 2015: American beats Maria Sharapova in straight sets to claim a sixth title in Melbourne
- 1 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 2 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Hard line on immigration could cost Tories the election