The Miami Open just lost another top star on the eve of the tournament.
Serena Williams withdrew from the Miami Open on Sunday, as she is still recovering from oral surgery. She is the fourth star to pull out of the event, joining Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
“I am disappointed to withdraw from the Miami Open because of recent oral surgery,” Williams said, via the Miami Herald. “Miami is a special tournament for me because it’s my home and I am sad I won’t be able to see the incredible fans this year, but I look forward to coming back soon.”
Williams has shined at the Miami Open throughout her career, and won it a record eight times. She last raised the trophy there in 2015 when she beat Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner has played just twice so far in 2021, most recently at the Australian Open. Williams reached the semifinals in Melbourne, but fell to eventual champion Naomi Osaka in straight sets.
“We will certainly miss having Serena at this year’s tournament and I know it was a very difficult decision for her,” tournament director James Blake said, via the Miami Herald. “She has won the Miami Open more than any player in history, has a home here in South Florida, and is always a fan favorite. We hope she is back on the court soon and look forward to welcoming her back here next year.”
The tournament — which officially kicks off on Monday, and runs through April 4 — has now lost four key players in the days and weeks leading up to the event. Nadal withdrew earlier in the week due to a lingering back injury, and Federer is still recovering from knee surgery. Djokovic opted not to play due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“I decided to use this precious time at home to stay with my family,” Djokovic said in a statement, via the Miami Herald. “With all the restrictions, I need to find balance in my time on tour and at home.”
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