Serena Williams has dropped a bomb on eve of the US Open but our Aussie World No. 1 may have ended the tennis legend’s record hunt.
Tennis legend Serena Williams has pulled out of the US Open just days before it was meant to start with a hamstring injury.
At 39 years of age, time appears to be against Williams’ bid to equal Margaret Court’s grand slam record of 24 singles titles, having claimed her last major victory at the 2017 Australian Open.
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Her latest injury means another chance goes begging, with Williams turning 40 on September 26.
Williams took to Instagram to reveal she had pulled out of the tournament she has won six times.
“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.
“New York is one of the most exciting cities in the world and one of my favourite 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’ coach Partick Mouratoglou replied “You have tried everything”, while the US Open account added: “We’ll miss you, Serena! Get well soon.”
New York Times tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg posted on Twitter that it was the “end of an era”, as men’s star Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will also be absent from Flushing Meadows.
“The 2021 US Open will be the first Grand Slam event without Serena Williams, Roger Federer, or Rafael Nadal in the main singles draw since the 1997 US Open,” he wrote.
USA Today Sports columnist Dan Wolken also said it would be costly with Williams to forfeit 780 rankings points after a semi-final loss at Flushing Meadows last year, with the legend already ranked 22nd in the world.
“One of the big issues with Serena Williams playing so infrequently is that her ranking is highly dependent on points won at the majors. After the US Open points come off, the Aussie Open semi-final from this year will be a huge chunk of her ranking that she’ll have to defend,” Wolken wrote.
With the likes of Naomi Osaka, Aryna Sabalenka and of course Aussie Ash Barty dominating the circuit, Williams’ days of winning grand slams may be over.
“When you look at it, there’s a long list of other great female players,” former tennis star turned analyst Tim Henman said recently. “The standard, the quality, the athletic ability of so many of them is just so high and I think the strength and depth of the women’s game is better than it’s ever been.
“You know Serena can absolutely still contend if she’s fit, but do I think she can win another Grand Slam singles title? Right now I don’t.
“As has been the case with (Roger) Federer, she’s not getting any younger. So, whereas I did probably have that belief at the beginning of the year (Williams could win another major), I think it’s a step too far now.”
If Williams’ days of grand slam dominance are over, it would open the door for the younger brigade of Barty and Co. to cash in.
The US Open starts on Monday August 30.