Sisters Serena Williams and Venus Williams said Wednesday that they will not play in the upcoming U.S. Open tennis tournament because of injuries. They join standouts Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in their withdrawals, marking the first major tournament since 1997 without the quartet of stars who have largely dominated the sport.
Serena Williams cited a torn hamstring as her reason for withdrawing. Venus Williams said she had a leg injury. Both sisters announced within a 10-hour span. It is the first time since 2003 neither has appeared in the year’s last Grand Slam tournament.
Serena Williams suffered her injury at Wimbledon, forcing her to retire from that tournament and also miss the Olympics.
“After careful consideration and following the advice of my doctors and medical team, I have decided to withdraw from the U.S. Open to allow my body to heal completely from a torn hamstring,” Williams wrote on Instagram.
Venus followed up with a video message several hours later.
“Not the best news from Serena and I today. I, too, am unable to play the U.S. Open. It’s super super super disappointing. Having some issues with my leg all this summer and just couldn’t work through it.”
In related tennis health news, the U.S. Tennis Association said today it will expand its medical care to provide “best-in-class mental health support to players” at the U.S. Open. The move is particularly significant since defending champion Naomi Osaka has been the focus of mental health issues for players since the French Open. She later withdrew from Wimbledon.
Osaka’s fragile state was recently underlined when she broke down in tears and briefly left a press conference after being asked about her dealings with the media.
The U.S. Open begins Monday and will be televised by ESPN.