Venus Williams pulls out of Wimbledon, citing back

After 16 consecutive years of always showing up at Wimbledon, winning five titles along the way, Venus Williams pulled out of the grass-court Grand Slam tournament Tuesday, citing a lower back injury.

Williams, who turned 33 on Monday, never had missed Wimbledon since making her debut there in 1997, although she lost in the first round a year ago. She won the singles trophy — it happens to be called the Venus Rosewater Dish — in 2000-01, 2005 and 2007-08, to go with two more major championships at the U.S. Open in 2000-01.

But Williams has been dealing with a bad back for a while, playing only three matches in the last two-plus months. She was clearly hampered by the injury during a three-set, three-hour loss to 40th-ranked Urszula Radwanska of Poland in the first round of the French Open last month, then cited her back when she and younger sister Serena withdrew from the doubles competition in Paris.

The older Williams said after the singles loss at Roland Garros — her first opening-round exit there in a dozen years — that the inflammation in her back made it painful to serve hard, limiting one of the best parts of her game.

Once ranked No. 1, Williams is currently No. 34. Still learning to live as a professional athlete with an energy-sapping autoimmune disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, she has two first-round losses in the past four Grand Slam tournaments. That includes her defeat at Wimbledon last year, the first time she’d left a major championship that early since she lost in the first round of the Australian Open in 2006.

“With what I’ve gone through, it’s not easy. But I’m strong and I’m a fighter. You know, I don’t think I’m just playing for me now. I think I’m playing for a lot of people who haven’t felt well,” Williams said after her loss to Radwanska. “I think for me today, it’s a positive to be able to play three hours. I’m constantly finding ways to get better and to feel better.”

Play begins at Wimbledon next Monday.

Serena Williams, who is ranked No. 1, will be a big favorite to win what would be her sixth Wimbledon title and 17th major championship overall. She’s won 31 matches in a row, the longest single-season streak on the women’s tour since Venus put together a 35-match run in 2000.

More in Sports

Everett’s Stephan Erosa, left, competes against Arlington Brantly StupeyThursday night at Arlington High School in Arlington on January 18, 2018. The Eagles won 37-25.(Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Arlington wrestlers scrap to 37-25 win over Everett

Aggressive lineup moves pay off for the Eagles in a big Wesco 3A North win over the Seagulls.

Huskies fall to Utah 70-62 for 2nd straight Pac-12 loss

Washington shoots just 38.5 percent from the field in defeat.

Thursday’s prep scores, links to recaps

BOYS BASKETBALL Northwest 2A Anacortes 71, Lakewood 52 Northwest 1B Grace Academy… Continue reading

Additions of Murray, Sharp give Silvertips depth

After a ‘crazy busy’ week upon being traded to Everett, the new duo is finally settling in.

No. 13 Gonzaga falls to rival Saint Mary’s 74-71

Jock Landale scores 26 points as the Gaels take sole possession of first place in the WCC.

POLL RESULTS: Edgar Martinez is getting in the Hall of Fame

Fifty-nine percent of responders believe the Seattle Mariners legend will be elected this year.

Coupeville boys basketball celebrating 101st anniversary Friday

The Coupeville High School boys basketball program is celebrating its… Continue reading

Lakewood’s Perry earns WIAA Athlete of the Week honors

Lakewood girls basketball star Jelly Perry earned Athlete of the Week honors… Continue reading

Kamiak senior’s 52-point outburst this season was historic

Carson Tuttle’s performance was one of the best in the history of current Wesco 4A and 3A schools.

Most Read