Twenty-three-time Major champion, Serena Williams, will not compete at this year’s Miami Open that starts next week, undergoing a recent oral surgery and not feeling ready to compete.
The World no. 7 is the highest-ranked player who has withdrawn from Miami so far, joining Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic on the list of the most notable missing players.
Twenty-two years after cracking the top-10 for the first time, the American is still ranked among the world’s best players, achieving almost everything and still battling hard to lift that 24th Major crown.
Williams earned the 23rd Major title at the Australian Open 2017 before taking a break and giving birth to a daughter later that year.
The American returned in March 2018 and reached four Major finals at Wimbledon and the US Open within the next two years, giving her best to earn that elusive 24th Major but suffering four losses.
Following an injury at last year’s Roland Garros, Williams recovered in time for the Australian Open and chased the eighth Melbourne crown.
Delivering her best tennis since returning in 2018, Serena defeated five rivals to reach the semis, including victories over Aryna Sabalenka and Simona Halep.
Setting eyes on the trophy, Williams faced Naomi Osaka in a blockbuster clash and suffered a 6-3, 6-4 defeat.
Williams made too many unforced errors against the young Japanese, wasted an early lead in the opener and fell short after reaching 4-4 in set number two.
With those points, Williams returned into the top-10 for the first time since November and hoping for more chances at Majors in the rest of the season.
She turns 40 in August and she still competes with the same desire, giving her 100 per cent in every match and standing as a role model for the upcoming youngsters.
Before that oral surgery, Williams trained with Grigor Dimitrov in Miami, preparing for another title chase before that oral surgery changed her plans.
She said: “I’m disappointed to withdraw from the Miami Open because of recent oral surgery.
“Miami is a special tournament for me because it’s my home.
“I am sad I won’t be able to see the incredible fans this year, but I look forward to coming back soon.”
Tournament Director, James Blake, said: “We will certainly miss having Serena at this year’s tournament, and I know it was a very difficult decision for her.
“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.”