For the first time in 24 years, no Williams sister will be in action when the Australian Open kicks off later this month.
It was confirmed on Friday that Venus Williams will not contest the 2022 Australian Open, joining sister Serena in missing the year-opening grand slam at Melbourne Park.
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The 41-year-old hasn’t played since August because of a leg injury and has seen her WTA ranking plummet to No.318 in the world.
Because she is outside the top 100 players in the world, she would have required a wildcard to play in Melbourne.
However News Corp revealed on Friday that Venus will not make the trip Down Under, meaning both Williams sisters are out of the hard-court major.
It will mark the first time since 1997 that neither Williams sister will be in action at the Australian Open.
A seven-time grand slam champion, Venus has never won the Australian Open singles title despite making the final in 2003 and 2017.
However she has won four Australian Open doubles titles and a mixed doubles title in 1998.
Fans were left devastated by the news that she won't be playing in 2022, with many coming to the realisation that we've likely seen Venus in Australia for the last time.
— Pele M (@katia789720) December 31, 2021
Big loss that they won’t play
— Paula (@PaulaE3S) December 31, 2021
— Loli (@LoliLondon) December 31, 2021
Think about that ... Bill Clinton was just being sworn in for his second term when the Williams Sisters started playing in Oz. https://t.co/CRSk9EYUcW
— Dan Martin (@DanMartinTennis) December 31, 2021
We all knew this was the case. Secretly hoped she would play but figured she wouldn’t. We better get use to the “this is the first time both Williams sisters…” message cuz the end is NEARRRR! 😢 😢 😭 https://t.co/GrBnRMpBt8
— Serving It Up (@Serving_It_Up) December 31, 2021
2021 won’t end will it? No Williams sisters - first time since 1997 :( https://t.co/F4uie5KWLc
— Brendan Churchill (@BrenChurchill) December 31, 2021
Serena Williams also withdraws from Australian Open
Last month, Serena announced her shock withdrawal from the Australian Open, saying she hasn't fully recovered from a leg injury suffered at Wimbledon.
The 40-year-old hasn't played since retiring from her first-round match at Wimbledon in July with a right hamstring injury.
Her ranking has slipped to No. 41 in the world during the long layoff.
Serena won the last of her 23 grand slam singles titles at the 2017 Australian Open, beating Venus in the final.
She was beaten in the semi-finals in 2021 by Naomi Osaka in straight sets.
The Australian Open released a statement from Williams saying she made the decision to withdraw “following advice from her medical team."
“While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete,” Williams told the Australian Open website.
“Melbourne is one of my favourite cities to visit and I look forward to playing at the AO every year.
"I will miss seeing the fans, but am excited to return and compete at my highest level.”
When the Australian Open is run and won later this month, it will officially be five years since Serena last won a major.
The 23-time grand slam champion is still one major short of Margaret Court's all-time record of 24.
She finished runner-up at four grand slams since winning the 2017 Australian Open, losing in the final at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018 and 2019.
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