Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova have withdrawn from the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
Williams withdrew on account of a viral illness that limited her physically. Sharapova has been bothered by a nagging right leg injury and pulled out, not wanting to take any further chances with the U.S. Open beginning Aug. 31.
Set to face Ana Ivanovic Tuesday, the 35-year-old Williams announced her decision shortly prior to the scheduled match. She has gone 23-10 in 2015 with one singles title, at the WTA ASB Classic in January. It has been a difficult year for her since, qualifying for one semifinals, the WTA Qatar Total Open, and exiting in the first round at the WTA Istanbul Cup and Rogers Cup.
“I think the threshold is when you just don't feel confident going into a match and you don't feel any confidence,” Williams told media. “You have to feel like you can play the point.” She will aim to recover for the U.S. Open.
Sharapova, 28, said she didn't have enough time before the Open to risk playing with the injury, a right leg strain, which also forced her to withdraw from the Rogers Cup this month. She's gone 34-7 in 2015 with singles titles at the WTA Brisbane international in January and the WTA Italian Open in May.
“It's a tough decision to make, but I think a wise one, in order to give myself the right about of time to be as healthy as I can be for the Open,” Sharapova told the press. “I believe [it's] very realistic, but I don't know if it would be realistic if I did compete and start tomorrow.”
- Jeremy Woo