On Friday (Dec. 30), Venus Williams announced she will join her sister Serena in not participating in the Australian Open, marking the first time that a Grand Slam tournament will be without the pro tennis superstar sisters since 1997.
In early December, Serena announced she will not be competing in the Open due to a right hamstring injury. Venus herself has only missed three Australian Open tournaments since her 1998 debut. Most recently, she opted out of the 2012 edition of the tournament as she battled an auto-immune disease.
Venus has only played in less than ten tournaments in 2021 with her last match being at Chicago’s WTA 250 event in August. Likewise, Serena hasn’t competed since retiring from her Wimbledon opener last summer.
"While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete,” Serena Williams told ESPN in December. “Melbourne is one of my favorite cities to visit and I look forward to playing at the AO every year. I will miss seeing the fans, but am excited to return and compete at my highest level.”