This year’s U.S. Open just lost another big name.
On Wednesday, Serena Williams pulled out of the upcoming event due to a hamstring injury, joining the likes of Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem, and Rafael Nadal, who will all be skipping the festivities for similar reasons. Now, CNN reports that Venus Williams will also be missing the final tennis major of the year due to her own leg injury. For those keeping track at home, this marks the first time since 2003 that neither Williams sister will compete in the U.S. Open.
“Not the best news from Serena and I today. I, too, am unable to play the U.S. Open,” she said in a video posted on social media. “It’s super, super, super disappointing. Having some issues with my leg all this summer and just couldn’t work through it. I tried my best here in Chicago, but I just was unable to figure out the equation. And there’s been so many times where I’ve been able to figure it out, even not in the best of my health, but this time, I just couldn’t make any miracles work.”
The seven-time Grand Slam champ then expressed her desire to return to her “favorite Slam” in the future.
“I’ve had so many amazing memories there,” she said. “I can’t wait to get back out on the court, whenever that is. I’ll work with my team to make it as soon as I can.”
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As to what Williams will do with her newfound free time, she joked that her love life can finally take priority.
“I’m not used to being able to have some free time at all, and I know I said that this year I was ‘undateable’ at Wimbledon, but I’ve changed my mind,” she said. “Now that I have free time, I am accepting applications from, you know, all bachelors from above five foot tall. Smart but not smarter than me, has a job and doesn’t talk too much.”
The Williams sisters’ withdrawal now thins out a playing field that could include a bounceback performance from Naomi Osaka. It’s been a rough couple of months for the 23-year-old superstar, who withdrew from the French Open in May citing mental health concerns and suffered a shocking loss in the third round of the Tokyo Olympics. Also at stake is a $57.5 million pot that includes the lowest grand prize money since 2012 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although a record-setting $57.5 million will be awarded to participants in the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament, the men’s and women’s singles champions will take home $2.5 million each, which is $500,000 less than 2020 and a $1.35 million decrease from two years ago, as the United States Tennis Association aims to put more money in the hands of the sports nonsuperstars.
I don’t know who all gon’ be there, but the U.S. Open is set to begin on Monday.