This year’s US Open will be without many big names, as Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal will all skip the festivities at Flushing Meadows, where the national championship is set to begin on Monday. However, I regret to inform you that there is another tennis legend who participates in the annual event, and that is Serena Williams.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion made the announcement on Instagram on Wednesday, citing her need to recover from a hamstring tear, per ESPN.
“After careful consideration and following the advice of my doctors and medical team, I decided to withdraw from the US Open to allow my body to fully heal from a hamstring tear,” a- she writes. “New York is one of the most exciting cities in the world and one of my favorite places to play. I will miss seeing the fans, but I will cheer everyone on from afar.
“Thank you for your continued support and love. I’ll see you soon. ”
Like New York Times writer Ben Rothenberg Noted, the US Open 20201 signals “the end of an era” as it will be the first Grand Slam event without Williams, Nadal or Federer in the singles main draw since the 1997 US Open.
Additionally, Williams, who turns 40 in September, has yet to compete since his exit in tears at Wimbledon in June. In the first set of her first round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich, the four-time Olympic gold medalist suffered a horrific injury to her right leg.
“I was heartbroken having to retire today after injuring my right leg,” Williams wrote in an Instagram statement after refusing to speak to reporters after her loss. “My love and gratitude goes to the fans and the team who make being on center court so meaningful. To feel the overwhelming warmth and support of the crowd today as I stepped in and out of the court meant the world to me.
Serena’s withdrawal follows news that US Open competitors will now be offered access to licensed mental health providers and quiet rooms as part of a new initiative that has been put in place by the US Tennis Association.
According to Yahoo Sports, these efforts aim to “ensure that a comprehensive and holistic approach is taken to all aspects of player health, including mental health.”
“Our goal is to make mental health services as easily accessible to athletes as services for a sprained ankle – and free from stigma,” said Dr. Brian Hainline, USTA Senior Vice President. “We will provide an environment that promotes well-being while providing the resources necessary to easily enable seeking mental health care.”
Naomi Osaka’s decision to withdraw from Roland-Garros in May citing mental health issues likely played a clear role in USTA’s decision to prioritize the emotional and psychological well-being of its competitors, and while this is a step in the right direction, it is unfortunate that Williams may not be able to take advantage of these services or participate in what could very well be one of his last events.