After Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Wimbledon 2016 champion Andy Murray announced their withdrawal from the Rogers Cup, it has now emerged that women’s top seed Serena Williams will also no longer participate; suffering from a shoulder injury.
Here, we look at why it is a good idea for each of these top-ranked players to take an absence from the Masters tournament in Canada.
Given that the women’s No. 1 will be headlining Team USA’s Olympic attack, it is a good move for her to sit out of the final Masters tournament before the Olympics.
Midway through what has been an incredibly successful season, Williams has made the finals of every Grand Slam this year, missing out on two finals before winning her 22nd Grand Slam title at Wimbledon 2016 – thereby equalling the Open Era record set by Steffi Graf.
Although Williams has not had any tournament-threatening injuries this year, the American admitted ahead of her French Open final clash against Spain’s Garbine Muguruza that she had been suffering from ‘serious muscle strain’.
Older than most of the current competitive tennis field, Williams has also shown more fitness than nearly every other player on the Tour. Despite this, given that she is older, recovery times will be slower for the American ace, who at 34 has outhit nearly every opponent she has faced this year without breaking much of a sweat.
That side, unlike most others on the grid, Williams does not require the points to progress in the rankings, holding her top rank despite sitting out a series of what have been dubbed ‘important’ tournaments on the calendar.
Having already broken a number of records this year, Williams is also the most decorated Olympic tennis player with four titles in title – one in the singles and three in the doubles, winning each of those with her sister Venus.
The pair are defending champions in the singles and doubles respectively, having won gold at the London Olympics in 2012. With nothing to ‘prove’ on the professional tour, Williams can focus on winning laurels for her country. Given the immense form both Serena and older sister Venus have been in, with 36-year-old Venus beating injury and autoimmune disease to finish in the semi-finals at Wimbledon, a tournament she has won five times – and managing all this despite being the oldest player in the entire Wimbledon draw, male or female.
Given their high chances in Rio, it makes perfect sense that Serena would sit out the Rogers Cup.