Venus Williams withdraws from Australian Open with an undisclosed injury

Venus Williams won’t compete in the Australian Open after she surprised tennis fans by accepting a wild card to play in December.

The seven-time Grand Slam singles champion withdrew from the Melbourne tournament after sustaining an undisclosed injury during a tournament in New Zealand, the tournament announced on Friday.

In 2022, both Venus and Serena Williams missed the Australian Open for the first time in more than 20 years. In doubles, the two combined to win the women’s title four times — 2001, 2003, 2009 and 2010.

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Now ranked No. 1,003, Venus' wild-card acceptance thrilled fans as the past two years of her career have seen a more limited tournament schedule due to injuries.

Upon the announcement of her return, the 42-year-old said she was “very excited” to play in Melbourne again. “The Australian community has always supported me wholeheartedly. It will be an honor to play for the fans again,” Williams added.

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Australia’s Kim Birrell will receive the open wild-card slot.

More notable Australian Open absences

Williams started the year with a lead-up tournament, the ASB Classic, where she beat Katie Volynets in Auckland and then lost to China's Lin Zhu.

Fellow American star Naomi Osaka has not made any warmup appearances of the like, and seems unlikely to play in the Australian Open. The two-time Australian Open champion last competed four months ago, and tournament organizers claimed not to have any word from Osaka about her playing status on Thursday.

World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz will miss the Grand Slam due to a leg injury he sustained during training, he announced Friday.

The 19-year-old described the issue as being in the semimembranosus muscle, the middle hamstring, of his right thigh.

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Like Williams, 20-year-old British No. 1 Emma Raducanu also sustained an injury at the ASB Classic, where she rolled her ankle on Thursday. She has not yet withdrawn from the Australian Open, which begins Jan. 16.