Injured Venus Williams out of Australian Open

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - MARCH 23: Venus Williams returns a shot to Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan during the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium on March 23, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP MATTHEW STOCKMAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP
Venus Williams / MATTHEW STOCKMAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Venus Williams has pulled out of the Australian Open after picking up at injury at the Auckland Classic, organisers said.

The 42-year-old American had accepted a wildcard to compete in the opening Grand Slam of the year at Melbourne Park, a tournament she first played in 1998 and in which she is a two-time finalist, losing both times to sister Serena.
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“Venus Williams has withdrawn from the Australian Open due to an injury sustained at the ASB (Auckland) Classic in New Zealand,” the Australian Open tweeted late Saturday.

Australia’s Kim Birrell will take her place.

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Williams produced a vintage performance in the opening round at Auckland last week, beating fellow American Katie Volynets 7-6 (7/4), 6-2. But she exited in the last 16 to China’s Zhu Lin.

The Australian Open, which starts in Melbourne on January 16, will also be without men’s world number one Carlos Alcaraz who pulled out on Friday with a right leg injury.
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