REUTERS - Serena Williams has withdrawn from this month's season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore citing a persistent shoulder injury, the world number two said on Monday.
The 22-times grand slam singles champion has played only eight tournaments this year and lost her spot at the top of the world rankings to German Angelique Kerber.
"It's been a really tough year for me, dealing with these shoulder injuries. My doctor insists that I stay home and heal it. I only have wonderful memories of playing in Singapore and I will really miss my fans," the 35-year-old said.
Williams has yet to play a tournament since the US Open this year, where she lost in the semi-finals to Elina Svitolina; this is the second year in a row the American has pulled out ahead of the tournament with injuries.
The event was Williams’ last chance to retain the World no. 1 ranking at the end of the year, which means Angelique Kerber will be the 2016 year-ending World No. 1 instead.
The top 8 players on the rankings qualify for the year-ending finals, which commence on the 23rd of October.
Williams said her doctor had mandated rest, and expressed serious disappointment at being unable to play. I am really, really bombed that I won't be able to compete.
"It has been a really tough year for me, just dealing with my shoulder injury. My doctor insists that I stay at home and heal it every single day so I can have a chance to play next year."
Serena had not initially planned to miss the Finals despite having withdrawn from the China and Wuhan Open, saying she had hoped to be back in form by the time the Singapore event rolled around; this has not been the case.
She released a video on her Twitter channel apologizing to fns and expressing her disappointment at being unable to perform at the event. “I will miss my fans most of all,” said the ace, who this year equalled Steffi Graf’s Open Era record of 22 Grand Slams; having made the finals of eery Slam except the US Open, Williams won the title at Wimbledon, beating Angelique Kerber, who beat her in Australia.
India’s Sania Mirza, who is World No. 1 in the doubles, qualified earlier this year for the WTA Finals with former partner Martina Hingis, although the pair have since split.