Five-time women’s singles champion Venus Williams has pulled out of Wimbledon because of a back injury. Wimbledon, which marks the beginning of the grass court season starts on Monday and the sister of the present world number one, Serena, will not be partaking.
Williams has struggled with the same problem all through the clay court season and was forced to pull out of the doubles at the French Open.
The 33-year-old American has not missed the tournament since making her debut in 1997, with her singles victory coming in 200, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008.
“I will not be able to participate in Wimbledon,” Williams wrote on her Facebook page. “I am extremely disappointed as I have always loved The Championship. I need to take time to let my back heal.”
She has suffered auto-immune disease Sjogren’s syndrome in recent years. Former top seed Williams had enjoyed a descent season until the back problem occurred, reaching two semi-finals on the WTA Tour and climbing back up to 34 in the rankings.
At last month’s French Open, the pair of Venus and Serena pulled out of the doubles competition as the back problem kept nagging on after her first round defeat by Poland’s Urszula Radwanska which was also attributed to her fitness level.
The pair is the defending doubles champions at the All England Club, having claimed their 5th title win with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Czech Republic’s Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka.
“I look forward to returning to the court as soon as possible with my goal being to return to Mylan World Team Tennis on 8 July in Washington DC,” Williams added.
“Many thanks to my fans for the love and support and I will be seeing you very soon back on the courts.”