Less than a week before the U.S. Open is set to begin, Serena Williams has withdrawn from the competition due to an injury. “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,” she 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.”
Williams, who has won 23 Grand Slam titles, has yet to compete since injuring her leg at Wimbledon in June, when she dropped out of the competition after getting hurt during the first set of her first match. The injury also prevented her from participating in the Tokyo Olympics. “Since she had to pull out from Wimbledon, she’s been fully committed to her recovery and we’ve done everything we could so that she could compete at the U.S. Open,” Patrick Mouratoglou, Williams’s coach, posted on Instagram. “It is heartbreaking, but this is the only possible decision.”
Williams isn’t the only high-profile player to drop out of the tournament. Men’s players Dominic Thiem, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal have all announced they will not be competing due to injuries. This marks the first U.S. Open without Williams, Federer, or Nadal since 1997.
Notably, 23-year-old tennis star Naomi Osaka will be competing in the U.S. Open, which is set to begin August 30. Earlier this year, Osaka withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon in order to focus on her mental health. Since then, she’s continued to be a vocal advocate for athletes’ mental health, writing an essay for Time about the overwhelming pressure of being in the public eye. On Tuesday, the U.S. Tennis Association announced they’d be providing licensed mental health providers and quiet rooms for players to access during the U.S. Open.