Serena Williams's health has put a temporary stop to her tennis tour. The champ, who captured her 19th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open last month while struggling with a persistent virus, has withdrawn from the Dubai Open, apparently suffering from the same ailment.
The 33-year-old has been suffering from a nagging cough since Melbourne and was forced to sit out the second day of the United States' 4-1 FedCup win over Argentina in Buenos Aires last weekend.
This is the second time in three years that Williams has pulled out of the popular and lucrative Middle East tournament.
Taking time to recover may, however, increase her odds at winning her next tournament, Indian Wells (in early March), something of unusual significance for her and for her sister Venus Williams. It will be the first time either Williams sister has returned to Indian Wells since they boycotted after their hostile treatment by the crowd 14 years ago.
“Serena’s doing what’s best for her,” said Venus. “She’s been sick for a while and all the traveling can have an affect on you. There comes a time when you need to do something about it.”
“I know what it can be like [to be unwell],” added Venus, who has had chronic health problems in recent seasons. “It builds character –– and I have had to build a lot of character in the last few years.”
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(Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images)