Six-time champion Serena Williams has pulled out of the U.S. Open, citing the torn hamstring that forced her to retire from her first-round match at Wimbledon in July.
Williams announced the news via Instagram on Tuesday, saying the decision to let her body heal completely rather than try to play in New York came after careful consideration with her medical team.
“New York is one of the most exciting cities in the world and one of my favorite places to play,” she wrote. “I’ll miss seeing the fans but will be cheering everyone on from afar.”
Missing the U.S. Open concludes what can only be considered a frustrating Grand Slam season for Williams, who turns 40 next month. After winning her 23rd major title in 2017, Williams hoped to come back after giving birth to her daughter Olympia and win at least one more to match Margaret Court’s 24, although 13 of those came prior to the Open Era when the Grand Slams were limited to amateur players.
Instead, Williams has lost two U.S. Open and two Wimbledon finals and has slipped further in the rankings as her focus has been locked almost exclusively on the majors rather than regular WTA Tour events.
Since losing to eventual champion Naomi Osaka in the semifinals of this year’s Australian Open in January, Williams has only played eight matches including a fourth-round exit at the French Open to Elena Rybakina. At Wimbledon, Williams played just six games against Aliaksandra Sasnovich before slipping on the grass and suffering the injury.
Williams has already fallen to No. 22 in the rankings and will slip closer to No. 30 after the U.S. Open because she won’t be able to defend the points gained from making the semifinals last year. Prior to the injury at Wimbledon, there had been some speculation that this might be Williams’ last go-round at the Grand Slams before retirement, a notion that she refused to discuss when asked. Her Instagram post Tuesday concluded with “I’ll see you soon,” which will give some hope to her fans that she plans on continuing in 2022.
Williams being unable to play this year is yet another blow for the U.S. Open, which already lost a significant amount of star power with former champions Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Stan Wawrinka all on the sidelines with injuries.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Serena Williams pulls out of US Open because of torn hamstring