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Williams sisters withdraw from US Open

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Serena and Venus Williams are the latest big-name withdrawals from the US Open, making this the first time since 2003 neither of the sisters will appear in the year’s final grand slam tournament.

Serena, who turns 40 next month, cited a torn right hamstring that has kept her out of competition since she was injured in the first set of her first-round match at Wimbledon in late June.

Venus, who is 41, said she has a leg injury.

They announced their decisions via social media posts about 10 hours apart.

“Not the best news from Serena and I today. I, too, am unable to play the US Open. It’s super super super disappointing,” Venus said.

“Having some issues with my leg all this summer and just couldn’t work through it.”

The Americans – who between them have won 30 slam titles – join Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – who have a combined 40 majors to their credit – in sitting out the competition in Flushing Meadows, where play begins on Monday, raising questions about what the future of tennis might look like without them.

The draw for the tournament is on Thursday.

This will be the first major tournament since the 1997 Australian Open without any of the four in the singles brackets.

Venus made her slam debut at the 1997 French Open; Serena arrived the next year; Federer showed up in 1999; Nadal in 2003.

Serena has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, a record in the professional era.

Only Margaret Court has more at 24.

Venus has won seven, including at the US Open in 2000 and 2001.

Federer, Nadal and Novak Djokovic share the men’s record of 20.

“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,” Serena wrote in her post on Wednesday.

Her note ended with: “I’ll see you soon.”

The most recent of Serena’s six singles championships at Flushing Meadows came in 2014.

In her five appearances at the hard-court tournament in New York since then, she has made it to the final twice – losing to Naomi Osaka in 2018 and Bianca Andreescu in 2019 – and the semi-finals three other times, including last year.

-AAP