The inaugural Adelaide International at the brand-new Memorial Drive Tennis Centre takes place next week, serving as the last preparation for the Australian Open for many top-ranked players. Novak Djokovic and Alex de Minaur should the men's draw after the ATP Cup, with the one on the WTA side being even stronger, gathering four top-10 stars and 19 players from the top-30!
Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova should be the players to beat, together with other notable players and two Aussies that have earned a wild card. The third invitation was reserved for Venus Williams but the American had to withdraw due to a hip injury that has been bothering her for a while, skipping this week's Brisbane event as well.
Despite being one of the most experienced players left on the Tour, Venus is still not ready to give up and retire, starting the season from just outside the top-50 and hoping for another good run once she gets at 100%. Since 1997, Venus has failed to finish in the top-100 only in 2011, producing some impressive tennis between 2014-17 and shutting down the engines a little bit after that.
In almost two decades (1998-2016), Venus claimed 49 WTA titles from 83 finals, lifting five Wimbledon crowns from nine title matches at the All England Club and conquering 23 Majors overall in all three categories. "Although I have done everything in my power to compete next week in Adelaide, I am disappointed that I have to withdraw from the tournament," Williams said.
"Australia holds a special place in my heart, having played all over the country since the very beginning of my career. Although my time spent there will be shorter than expected this year, I share my continued support for Australia, who has shown incredible strength and perseverance during this difficult time."
"We are sad that Venus has been forced to withdraw from the Adelaide International, wishing her the very best for a speedy recovery," Adelaide International Tournament Director Alistair MacDonald said.