Unthinkable 24-year first in tennis greats' US Open withdrawals

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·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
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Serena Williams and Venus Williams (pictured) smile as they pose with their trophies at the Australian Open.
Serena Williams and Venus Williams (pictured) have pulled out of the US Open, which will mark the first time in 24 years that at least one of the pair, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal won't play at a Grand Slam. (Getty Images)

The US Open will feel the absence of a number of tennis icons after the withdrawal of Serena Williams and now her sister Venus, which signals a remarkable 24-year first in tennis.

Williams stunned the tennis world after announcing her withdrawal from next week's US Open.

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The 23-time grand slam champion made the heartbreaking announcement on Wednesday night, saying she hasn't fully recovered from a hamstring injury.

The former World No.1 said the injury had not completely healed after she was forced to retire hurt in the first round at Wimbledon.

Hours later, her sister Venus also withdrew from the US Open due to a leg injury.

The Williams sisters hold eight US Open Grand Slams between them and their absence is a huge blow to the women's draw.

The men's draw has also been hit hard with the withdrawal of both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

And the absence of all four tennis icons at Flushing Meadows marks the first time in 24 years the tennis world has seen a Grand Slam without at least one of them competing.

The US Open will be the first Grand Slam since the 1997 Australian Open when none of the four had made their major debuts.

The stat certainly had the tennis world questioning whether it was truly the end of an era.

Venus Williams announces withdrawal after sister

Serena, who turns 40 next month, cited a torn right hamstring that has kept her out of competition since she was injured in the first set of her first-round match at Wimbledon in late June.

Venus, who is 41, said she has a leg injury.

They announced their decisions via social media posts about 10 hours apart.

"Not the best news from Serena and I today. I, too, am unable to play the US Open. It's super super super disappointing," Venus said.

"Having some issues with my leg all this summer and just couldn't work through it."

The Americans - who between them have won 30 slam titles - raised questions about what the future of tennis might look like without them.

The draw for the tournament is on Thursday.

Venus made her slam debut at the 1997 French Open; Serena arrived the next year; Federer showed up in 1999; Nadal in 2003.

Serena has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, a record in the professional era.

Only Margaret Court has more at 24.

Venus has won seven, including at the US Open in 2000 and 2001.

Federer, Nadal and Novak Djokovic share the men's record of 20.

with AAP

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