After Serena Williams announced her retirement from this year’s Australian Open, her sister Venus was expected to play.
American legend Venus Williams will not play at next month’s Australian Open, meaning an emerging Australian will clinch the final individual women’s wild card.
At 41, Williams is still a major draw, but he fell outside the top 100, and direct entry to the Australian Open, in May for the first time in nine years.
The seven-time Grand Slam champion has not played since August due to a leg injury that meant she also had to skip the US Open.
Williams’ ranking has plummeted to number 318 and she would have needed a wild card to enter the tournament.
But News Corp may reveal that it will not travel to Melbourne. Her sister, Serena Williams (hamstring), will also not be playing in the tournament from January 17-30.
Venus Williams has contested 13 of the last 14 Australian Opens, disappearing only in 2012 as she grappled with the debilitating effects of the autoimmune disease.
It will be the first time since 1997 that neither of the Williams sisters has been in the Melbourne Park main draw.
Williams has just returned to his Florida base and is spending time with Serena and her daughter, Olympia, after visiting Paris.
She was runner-up at Melbourne Park in 2017 and 2003 and reached at least the quarter-finals another seven times.
Seven of the eight Australian Open female wild cards are already assigned, including four for locals Sam Stosur, Daria Saville (n. Gavrilova), Storm Sanders and Maddison Inglis.
The others went to Xiyu Wang (Asia-Pacific), Robin Anderson (USA) and Diane Parry (France) as part of the annual arrangements.
Lizette Cabrera, Wimbledon qualifier Ellen Pérez, Seone Méndez and Priscilla Hon are contenders for the final singles wild card.
Cabrera, Pérez and Méndez scored wild cards at next week’s WTA 250 Melbourne event, while Hon received one at WTA 500 Adelaide International.
His performances at those tournaments are expected to play a role in who he will avoid having to qualify for his Grand Slam at home.
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