Uncertainty Now Certain: Serena Williams Withdraws From US Open

Serena Williams (photo: @serenawilliams/Instagram)

WASHINGTON, August 25, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

Serena Williams, the 23-time Grand Slam champion, who has not played on the WTA Tour since an injured right hamstring cut short her first-round match at Wimbledon, withdrew from the US Open Wednesday morning.

“After careful consideration and following the advice of my doctors and medical team, I have decided to withdraw from the US Open to allow my body to heal completely from a torn hamstring,” Williams wrote on Instagram.

“New York is one of the most exciting cities in the world and one of my favorite places to play – I’ll miss seeing the fans but will be cheering everyone from afar. Thank you for your continued support and love. I’ll see you soon.”


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The 39-year-old Williams, who turns 40 next month, is currently ranked 22nd in the latest WTA Rankings. She has not played since retiring in the first round against Aliaksandra Sasnovich at the Wimbledon Championships on June 29 because of an injured right hamstring. She was in tears as she shook hands with her Belarusian opponent and stumbled as she left Centre Court, needing assistance to walk into the clubhouse.

After skipping both the Omnium Banque Nationale in Montreal and the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio, both WTA 1000 events, earlier this month to allow more time to recover – “to be back on the court soon” – Williams realized she couldn’t recover in time for this year’s final major, which begins August 30 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. It’s at the US Open where Williams has won six singles titles, including her first Grand Slam as a teenager in 1999 against Martina Hingis of Switzerland.

Williams’s announcement comes days after both Roger Federer, 40, and Rafael Nadal, 35, pulled out of this year’s US Open with injuries and ended their 2021 seasons. This is the first time since 1997 that the US Open will not include at least one of the three future Hall of Famers. Between them, they have won 63 majors – 23 for Williams and 20 each for Federer and Nadal.

Since missing the US Open in 2017 to give birth to her daughter, Olympia, Williams has been a fixture at the US Open, searching for her 24th major singles title, which would tie her with Margaret Court. She lost the 2018 US Open final to Japan’s Naomi Osaka and the 2019 US Open to Bianca Andreescu of Canada, becoming the oldest major finalist in the Open Era. Last year, Williams was eliminated in the semifinal round in three sets by Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

The only tournament Williams has won since returning from maternity leave came at Auckland, New Zealand, in January 2020. She won her last Grand Slam title in January 2017 at the Australian Open, beating her older sister, Venus Williams.

In limited action this season, Williams is 12-6 in six tournaments. She was a semifinalist at the Yarra Valley Classic in Melbourne, losing to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty, to start the year. Then, she reached the semifinals of the Australian Open before being eliminated by Osaka, who won the title. During the European clay season, Williams lost a second-round match to Nadia Podoroska in straight sets at Rome, then reached the second round at Parma before losing to Katerina Siniakova. At the French Open, Williams won three straight before falling in the round of 16 to Elena Rybakina. It has been 57 days since Williams’s Wimbledon setback.