MELBOURNE, Australia — Venus Williams withdrew from the Australian Open due to an undisclosed injury she sustained while playing in a tournament in Auckland, New Zealand.
A seven-time Grand Slam singles champion, Williams received a wild-card entry into the Australian Open last month to compete in what would have been her 22nd major at Melbourne Park.
But the Australian Open said on Saturday the 42-year-old Williams had withdrawn from the tournament beginning Jan. 16. It did not provide specifics regarding the injury.
It continues a run of misfortunes for Williams, who last played at Melbourne Park in 2021.
A two-time Australian Open finalist, Williams injured an ankle and knee in that appearance when stumbling awkwardly at the net in a second-round match against Sara Errani.
Her best efforts at Melbourne Park came when she was beaten by her sister Serena Williams in finals in 2003 and 2017.
Now ranked 1,003, Williams said when granted the wild card in December that she was excited to be returning to Melbourne.
“I’ve been competing in the country for over 20 years now and the Australian community has always supported me wholeheartedly,” she said.
The five-time Wimbledon singles champion has struggled with injuries over the past two years and was restricted to playing just four tournaments in the U.S. last August. She did not progress beyond the first round in those events and ended her season when beaten by Alison van Uytvanck at the U.S. Open.
But she started 2023 on a positive note by defeating fellow American Katie Volynets in Auckland. She was then beaten by China’s Zhu Lin in three sets in the second round.
PARIS — A thrilling five-set victory took a toll on Gael Monfils, whose withdrawal from the French Open handed No. 6 Holger Rune a walkover to the third round.
The 36-year-old Frenchman said he has a strained left wrist and can’t continue.
He battled Sebastian Baez for nearly four hours on Court Philippe Chatrier before beating the Argentine 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 in a first-round match that ended at 12:18 a.m. local time.
The victory was Monfils’ first at tour level this year, as the veteran was coming back from heel surgery.
“Actually, physically, I’m quite fine. But I had the problem with my wrist that I cannot solve,” he said. “The doctor say was not good to play with that type of injury. Yesterday was actually very risky, and then today definitely say I should stop.”
Monfils reached the semifinals at the French Open in 2008 and made it to the quarterfinals on three other occasions.
PARIS — Swedish tennis player Mikael Ymer was docked about $40,000 after being disqualified for smashing his racket against the umpire’s chair at a tournament the week before he competed at the French Open.
An ATP Tour spokesman said Ymer forfeited about $10,500 in prize money and 20 rankings he earned for reaching the second round of the Lyon Open. Ymer also was handed an on-site fine of about $29,000.
The spokesman said the ATP Fines Committee will conduct a review of what happened to determine whether any additional penalties are warranted.
The 56th-ranked Ymer, who is 24 and owns a victory over current No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, was defaulted in Lyon for an outburst late in the first set against French teenager Arthur Fils last week.
Ymer was upset that the chair umpire would not check a ball mark after a shot by Fils landed near a line. As the players went to the sideline for the ensuing changeover, Ymer smacked the base of the umpire’s stand with his racket twice – destroying his equipment and damaging the chair.
That led to Ymer’s disqualification, making Fils the winner of the match.
After his 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 loss to 17th-seeded Lorenzo Musetti in the first round at Roland Garros, Ymer was asked whether he wanted to explain why he reacted the way he did in Lyon.
“With all due respect, I think it’s pretty clear from the video what caused it and why I reacted the way I reacted. Not justifying it at all, of course,” Ymer replied. “But for me to sit here and to explain? I think it’s pretty clear what led me to that place. I think that’s pretty clear in the video.”