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The Surprising Reason Serena Williams Won't Be in the US Open

The athlete will miss the championships for the first time in four years.

Tennis virtuoso Serena Williams revealed today that she would not be competing in the 2021 U.S. Open. This marks her latest extension in a break from tennis that began nearly two months ago.

Williams has been on leave from the world of tennis ever since she damaged her right hamstring in the first round of a Wimbledon match on June 29th. She conceded the match immediately afterwards and was assisted in limping to the clubhouse — though not before she granted a firm handshake to her opponent Aliaksandra Sasnovich, despite being in tear-inducing agony. Williams has not competing in a tennis event since then, dropping out of last week's Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. Her sister, Venus Williams, did the same but did not disclose her reasons. In a statement at the time, Serena promised to be "back on the court very soon".

However, she announced today on Instagram that she would also not be attending the U.S. Open in New York. Williams is the latest in a string of Usonian tennis stars to withdraw from the event due to injuries: zesty veteransRoger Federer and Rafael Nadal both dropped out earlier in 2021 due to various injuries. This is the first time in over 20 years that none of these iconic tennis titans will be present at a U.S. Open.

Williams's most recent victory of note was in January 2017 at the Australian Open, a fact which has led some pundits to declare that her glory days may be over. However, Williams herself has made no indication that she plans on retiring, and remains tantalizingly close to matching Margaret Court's record of winning 24 singles titles.

The U.S. Open Tennis Championships run from August 30th to September 12th and can be viewed on ESPN or streamed on ESPN+.

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