Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams has pulled out of this month’s Australian Open due to injury, the organisers of the season’s first Grand Slam said on Saturday.
Williams was set to play her 22nd Australian Open after being awarded a wildcard to the tournament, which runs January 16 to 29.
The 42-year-old American, twice a finalist at Melbourne Park who is now ranked outside the top 1,000, was preparing for the tournament at the Auckland Classic where she got injured.
“Venus Williams has withdrawn from the Australian Open due to an injury sustained at the ASB Classic in New Zealand,” the Australian Open said in a tweet.
Williams crashed out of the US Open in the first round with a loss to unseeded Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck and only returned to action in Auckland, where she downed compatriot Katie Volynets before losing to China’s Zhu Lin.
Australia’s Kimberly Birrell was awarded her wildcard place.
World No 1 Carlos Alcaraz will also miss the Australian Open because of a leg injury.
The 19-year-old Spaniard, who won his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open in September, revealed he suffered a muscle injury in his right leg during pre-season training.
Writing on social media Alcaraz said: “It’s time to deal with another blow. When I was at my best in pre-season, I picked up an injury through a chance, unnatural movement in training.
“I’d worked so hard to get to my best level for Australia but unfortunately I won’t be able to play the Care A2+ Kooyong [warm-up event] or the Australia Open. It’s tough, but I have to be optimistic, recover and look forward. See you in 2024 @australianopen.”