Former world No. 1 Venus Williams has withdrawn from the Australian Open, per News Corp.
Williams, 41, was granted a wildcard into this year’s Australian Open but reportedly she is set to miss the opening Grand Slam of the season.
For the first time since 1997, neither of the Williams sisters will play at the Australian Open.
“While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete,” Serena told the Australian Open. “Melbourne is one of my favorite cities to visit and I look forward to playing at the AO every year. I will miss seeing the fans, but am excited to return and compete at my highest level.”
Venus Williams has never won an Australian Open title
Venus made two finals at Melbourne Park — in 2003 and 2017 — in each final was beaten by her sister Serena.
Recently, Rick Macci — one of the first coaches who worked with the Williams sisters — recalled his first impression of the two.
“I wasn’t impressed at first. But then when they started competing, it was brutal,” Macci said during his interview with YouTube channel Tweener Head. “I’ve seen a lot, I never saw two little girls run so hard and almost fall over to get a ball. Quick, strong, fast. And they would go for the jugular.”
The Williams sisters have always had a close bond.
“Venus and I worked so hard. Still to this day we work side by side at practice. We motivate each other. Like I said on the court, every time she won her match, I felt obligated to win – I’ve got to win too. The motivation she gives me is second to nothing,” Serena said.
Venus Williams beat Kirsten Flipkens in the 2021 Australian Open first round before losing to Sara Errani in her following match.