Venus William's withdraws from ASB Classic
Williams met with Tournament Director Karl Budge this afternoon to alert him to her decision. She felt pain throughout her first match against New Zealand’s Jade Lewis on Wednesday and told Budge she wasn’t able to serve to her full capacity. She didn’t want to injure herself further by pushing through the tournament and decided her only option was to withdraw and get treatment.
“I love this tournament and I’m really sad that I have to withdraw but I’m really happy to have had the opportunity to be here again this year,” said Venus Williams.
The second seed and world number 17 later wrote on Twitter, “Sorry to all my fans in New Zealand 4 yr [love] and support! I [love] you all. Sorry I couldn’t win it for u this year.”
Williams was scheduled to take on the WTA Newcomer of the Year Naomi Osaka tonight, but her withdrawal means Osaka moves straight into the quarter-finals. 19-year-old Osaka is the first to progress and will play the winner of fellow teen Ana Konjuh and former ASB Classic winner Yanina Wickmayer.
“It’s obviously disappointing and a blow for the tournament for the ASB Classic but I think if there’s any player that deserves a little bit of grace it’s probably Venus Williams. We owe Venus a hell of a lot for what she’s down for the tournament over a number of years. I don’t think there’s anyone more disappointed than Venus Williams that she can’t go out and play in front of what’s almost become a home crowd for her,” said Tournament Director Karl Budge.
The ASB Classic continues with world number two Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki who is in threatening form. Williams’ withdrawal means Wozniacki will now play first up in Wednesday’s night session against America’s Varvara Lepchenko.