'Sad news': Tennis fans shattered over Serena Williams setback
Serena Williams has become the latest high-profile player to withdraw from the Miami Open, joining Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
The 23-time grand slam champion announced her withdrawal on Sunday in another blow to the prestigious Masters 1000 event which begins on Tuesday.
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Williams, who has won the Miami Open a record eight times, cited recent oral surgery as the reason for her withdrawal.
"Miami is a special tournament for me because it's my home," she said in a statement.
"I am sad I won't be able to see the incredible fans this year, but I look forward to coming back soon."
The news comes as another huge blow for Miami Open organisers, with Djokovic, Nadal and Federer already deciding not to play.
Fans were left shattered by the news.
So so sad..get well soon @serenawilliams @MiamiOpen https://t.co/p2xVEdz6Ks
— Saraya (@Sarayatennis) March 21, 2021
Well that's sad news Serena Williams has pulled out of this year's Miami Open!
— Ken mckinnon (@Kenmckinnon9) March 21, 2021
Serena Williams is the latest superstar player to withdraw from Miami. It's turning into an absolute disaster for @MiamiOpen before the tournament has even started! Both No 1s on both tours already withdrawn. I just hope lessons are learnt as many predicted this months ago.
— Pavvy G (@pavyg) March 21, 2021
Serena #Williams out of Miami Open...😳🎾 https://t.co/OT5Pmc9vTH
— Adam Romer (@AdamRomer13) March 21, 2021
Williams' most recent match was at the Australian Open in February, where she lost to Naomi Osaka in the semi-final.
Novak Djokovic skips Miami Open for family time
On Friday, World No.1 Djokovic announced that he will delay his comeback to the ATP Tour following the muscle injury he suffered while en route to his Australian Open victory.
Instead, he's decided to skip the Miami Open starting next week to spend more time with his family.
Djokovic sustained a muscle tear that hindered him during his successful title defence in Melbourne last month but the 33-year-old had planned to return at Miami before playing the Monte Carlo Masters and the ATP 250 Serbia Open.
"Dear fans, I'm very sorry to announce that this year I won't travel to Miami to compete," Djokovic tweeted.
"I decided to use this precious time at home to stay with my family.
"With all restrictions, I need to find balance in my time on tour and at home. I look forward to coming back next year."
The Miami Open begins on Tuesday, with only 750 fans allowed on the grounds per session.
Nadal has also decided to skip the March 22-April 4 event to recover from a back injury, while Federer will not be present as he works his way back to full fitness after two knee operations in the past 12 months.
“This has been a difficult year for everyone," Miami Open tournament director James Blake said in a statement.
“But especially for players with families.”
Djokovic won his 18th grand slam title at the Australian Open last month.
The Serb is in his 312th career week at World No.1 and recently broke Federer’s record of 310 total weeks in the top spot.
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