Venus Williams has pulled out of the upcoming Brisbane International after suffering a ‘setback’ in training, the former world number one said on Wednesday.
Williams, 39, was set to join world number one Ash Barty, Karolina Pliskova and Naomi Osaka in a strong field at the Queensland Tennis Centre from Jan. 6-12 and the organizers said they would announce a wildcard to take her place in the draw.
“Unfortunately, I won’t be starting my season in Brisbane due to an unexpected setback during my training,” Venus, a seven-times Grand Slam winner who was handed a wildcard for the event, said in a statement.
“I look forward to being in Australia in the New Year and will see everyone at Adelaide.”
The Adelaide International begins on Jan. 13.
Canada's Shapovalov calls for merger of ATP Cup and Davis Cup
Canadian Denis Shapovalov called on the organisers of the Davis Cup Finals and the ATP Cup to work together to create one world championship, saying it felt “weird” to play two similar events back to back.
The inaugural edition of the revamped Davis Cup, the International Tennis Federation’s flagship event, was held in November in Madrid’s La Caja Magica with 18 nations playing a week-long soccer World Cup-style showpiece.
The rival ATP cup, which will see 24 nations contesting across three cities in Australia over 10 days from Friday for the first time, is similar in nature and the big question remains if the two can co-exist in the future.
The 20-year-old Shapovalov played brilliantly to lead Canada to it first Davis Cup final where they eventually went down to Rafa Nadal’s Spain.
The world number 15 will again take up the mantle from Friday for Canada, who have been clubbed with Germany, Greece and hosts Australia in Group F of the ATP Cup.
“It would be great just to have one event that is a world championship,” he told reporters in Brisbane on Wednesday. “A month ago we played the world championship and now it feels like we are playing another one.
“It would be great if they could organise and make one big event, make it a unique and special tournament. Hopefully they can come to terms together and make something happen.”
The new Davis Cup format was voted in by the ITF in 2018 and bankrolled by a $3 billion 25-year partnership with Kosmos, the Barcelona-based investment company owned by soccer player Gerard Pique.
Both Pique and Novak Djokovic, the president of the ATP’s Player Council, have in the past said the two event cannot co-exist and a solution must be found.
The ATP Cup will have total prize money of $15 million. The new Davis Cup Finals offered around $18 million to teams and another $9 million to federations.
“I think the timing is interesting. I think it is a little bit strange to have it at a similar time as Davis Cup,” Shapovalov said.
“It is a weird feeling playing a world championships then coming into another event that is pretty much the same thing. We will see how it pans out.”