Venus Williams opts out of AO

Venus Williams, who was offered an Australian Open wild-card, has opted out of competing at the first Grand Slam of the year because of the leg injury that also kept her out of the US Open.

While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete. Melbourne is one of my favourite cities to visit and I look forward to playing at the AO every year. I will miss seeing the fans, but am excited to return and compete at my highest level. Serena Williams

The 41-year old American, whose ranking has plummeted to No 318, has not played a match on the WTA Tour since August.

Williams has contested 13 of the past 14 Australian Opens, missing only in 2012 while she was dealing with the debilitating effects of auto-immune disease.

Her sister, Serena, is also absent from the Australian run because of an on-going hamstring injury, so this will be the first time since 1997 that neither Williams sister is in the Melbourne Park main draw.

“While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete,” Serena said recently. “Melbourne is one of my favourite cities to visit and I look forward to playing at the AO every year.

“I will miss seeing the fans, but am excited to return and compete at my highest level.”

Williams has just returned to her Florida base and is spending time with Serena and her daughter, Olympia, after visiting Paris.

Venus was runner-up at Melbourne Park in 2017 and 2003, and reached at least the quarter-finals seven other times.

Seven of the 8 AO wild-cards are already allocated, including 4 to Aussies Sam Stosur, Daria Saville (née Gavrilova), Storm Sanders and Maddison Inglis, while the others go to Xiyu Wang (Asia-Pacific), Robin Anderson (United States) and Diane Parry (France) as part of the majors reciprocal arrangements.


The 2022 AO is the first since 1997 that neither Serena Williams (R) or Venus Williams will be in the main draw

© Christophe Simon/AFP via Getty Images




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