Venus Williams bows out of 2023 Australian Open due to injury

“Venus Williams has withdrawn from the Australian Open due to an injury sustained at the ASB Classic in New Zealand,” tournament organizers wrote.

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Tennis legend Venus Williams will not be competing in the 111th Australian Open after pulling out of the event Saturday due to an undisclosed injury.

Officials for the Grand Slam tournament announced via Twitter that Williams, 42, got injured during a recent competition in New Zealand and subsequently forfeited her spot in the Australian Open, according to PEOPLE.

Venus Williams
Venus Williams of United States serves in her Ladies’ Singles First Round match against Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania during Day Two of The Championships – Wimbledon 2021 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 29, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

“Venus Williams has withdrawn from the Australian Open due to an injury sustained at the ASB Classic in New Zealand,” tournament organizers wrote.

Per the announcement, Williams’ vacant spot will be filled by Kim Birrell of Australia.

Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam winner, has two Australian Open finals appearances and 21 tournament appearances under her belt entering 2023. She has additionally won doubles championships with her sister Serena Williams four times, according to PEOPLE.

Prior to withdrawing from the upcoming Australia Open, Williams spoke of how excited she was to appear in the Melbourne-based tournament once again, per the Australian Open website.

“I’ve been competing in the country for over 20 years now and the Australian community has always supported me wholeheartedly. It will be an honour to play for the fans again and I’m looking forward to making more memories at the tournament this year,” Williams said.

Venus Williams of The United States of America plays a forehand in her Women’s Singles second round match against Sara Errani of Italy during day three of the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on February 10, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Tournament director Craig Tilley additionally praised Williams’ greatness on and off the court while sharing that the Australian Open was delighted to welcome her back” in January.

“Venus is not just an incredible player and fan favourite, she’s a great role model and leader in our sport in so many ways,” Tiley said, per the tournament website.

Per Sports Illustrated, speculation arose about the star’s future in tennis after she posted an Instagram photo reflecting on her career spanning nearly three decades, writing in the post’s caption: “I can recount the wins and losses, but in the end it was always about the pursuit of my best self. Everyday, win lose or draw. I can look back with no regrets. It’s all been worth it.”

Days prior to Williams’ withdrawal from the Australian Open, she bested American Katie Volunets to advance past the ASB Classic’s opening round. She then lost to Zhu Lin of China in the next round.

The Australian Open will run from Monday, Jan. 16 through Saturday, Jan. 28 in Melbourne Park.

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