Serena Williams has pulled out of a clash with world No 1 Ashleigh Barty before the Australian Open – after not mentioning a right shoulder injury
Serena Williams has pulled out of a clash with world No 1 Ashleigh Barty before the Australian Open – after not mentioning a right shoulder injury in her post-match press conference earlier today.
The American superstar beat Danielle Collins 6-2 4-6 (10-6) in the quarter-finals of the Yarra Valley Classic on Margaret Court Arena.
The win set up a blockbuster clash with French Open champion Barty tomorrow (Saturday).
Immediately after her Collins win, Williams said she was looking forward to testing her game before bidding to win a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open.
“I think it’s definitely a good opportunity to see where I’m going against the current No. 1,” she said. I think that’s really important for me.
“I didn’t know I was going to play her, but I was excited. Obviously I think for her, as well, to see where she’s going against my game.
“I think I’m a pretty big player just on all surfaces. I think all around it’s a really good opportunity for us both.”
But then the WTA issued a statement announcing Williams was saving herself for the Grand Slam which starts on Monday.
“Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Yarra Valley Classic singles draw due to a right shoulder injury,” the women’s tour said on Twitter. “Ashleigh Barty advances to the final by walkover.”
Williams, who turns 40 later this year, won her last Grand Slam title at the 2017 Australian Open when she was eight weeks pregnant.
The world No 11, who will face German Laura Siegemund in the first round next week, played only four events after the first lockdown last year and this week was her first tournament since the French Open.
“After the tournament I heard about coronavirus in LA,” she said. “It was starting to get super serious.
“So I actually went into quarantine really early, like the second Indian Wells was canceled I was already in quarantine before then. I just went home and stayed by myself. Was that because of my blood clot issue.
“Yeah, I mean, no one knows what happens long-term. I think we’re still going to find out what happens, which is really scary.
“Also I think having a sick child is one of the worst, hardest things to get through because you can’t give them medicine, you can’t really help them except for just hold them. It was really important for us to try to stay safe early on.”