Venus Williams’ unfortunate run of injuries has led to her missing the year’s first Grand Slam tournament. The Australian Open announced Saturday that Williams will withdraw from the 2023 event because of an undisclosed injury she sustained during a tournament in Auckland, New Zealand this week. It would’ve been the 42-year-old’s 22nd major at Melbourne Park.
As the No. 1,003-ranked player, Williams was heading to the Australian Open as a wildcard entry. Australia’s very own Kim Birrell will now take her place in the tournament set to begin Jan. 16.
Williams, a two-time Australian Open runner-up, last played in the tournament in 2021. It was then when she suffered ankle and knee injuries during a second-round match against Sara Errani, beginning a rather concerning trend. Williams eventually missed the 2021 US Open and the first three Grand Slam tournaments of 2022 because of injuries. She made her highly-anticipated return at the 2022 US Open, but fell to Alison van Uytvanck in the first round.
This Australian Open would’ve been quite the opportunity for Williams, as the player who defeated her in the 2003 and 2017 finals has left the sport. That player, of course, is her sister Serena Williams, who announced her plans to retire last August but later said the chances of her returning at some point are “very high.”