Serena and Venus Williams became the latest high-profile tennis stars to withdraw from the 2021 U.S. Open on Wednesday, joining Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
The two sisters made their announcements on social media roughly 10 hours apart from each other. With both Venus and Serena not participating, it marks the first time since 2003 that neither of the two will play in the last Grand Slam tournament of the year.
Serena, a 23-time major singles champion, withdrew from the U.S. Open as she rehabs a torn hamstring.
“After careful consideration and following the advice of my doctors and medical team, I have decided to withdraw from the US Open to allow my body to heal completely from a torn hamstring,” Serena wrote on Instagram. “New York is one of the most exciting cities in the world and one of my favorite places to play—I’ll miss seeing the fans but will be cheering everyone on from afar. Thank you for your continued support and love. I’ll see you soon.”
Serena, who turns 40 next month, hasn't competed since injuring her hamstring in the first set of her first-round match at Wimbledon in late June. Now ranked No. 22 on the WTA Tour, she skipped last week’s Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati to allow herself more time to recover.
Venus, 41, withdrew from the event due to a leg injury.
“Not the best news from Serena and I today. I, too, am unable to play the U.S. Open. It’s super super super disappointing,” Venus said in a Tweet. “Having some issues with my leg all this summer and just couldn’t work through it.”
Like the Williams sisters, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and defending men's champion Dominic Thiem will also miss the tournament, which begins Monday. As noted by Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times, this summer marks the first Grand Slam event without the Williams sisters, Federer, or Nadal in the main singles draw since the 1997 U.S. Open.
Serena's 23 Grand Slam singles titles are a record in the professional era, and just one shy of Margaret Court's record of 24 major singles titles. She last won a Grand Slam event in January 2017 at the Australian Open. Venus has won seven, including at the U.S. Open in 2000 and 2001.
More Tennis Coverage: