Serena Williams, three-time U.S. Open champion, was forced to bow out of the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday due to pain stemming from a previous injury to her foot.
Williams, 29, seemed to be recuperating from her injured right foot that was surgically repaired last July. The tennis star recently won her first two consecutive tournaments since 2008, after a 10 month hiatus from the game.
After feeling pain arise in her foot on Wednesday, Williams said participating in the tournament was not worth risking her health or chance to participate in the U.S. Open.
“I definitely don't want to overdo it,” Williams said, according to Reuters. “My main goal right now is obviously to do well and nothing against Cincinnati or Toronto or the Stanfords that I played, but this is all preparation. Everyone is preparing for the U.S. Open. So I have to be smart and make sure it's not too much.”
Williams said there was swelling in her toe on Wednesday morning and pain when she began to practice for the match during the day.
“That definitely didn’t sit well,” Williams said, according to The New York Times.
The former U.S. Open champion said she decided to consult with her father and sister who have both been vital parts of her career. It was then that she decided to not participate in the match against Australian tennis player Samantha Stosur, whom she defeated in a match on Sunday.
Although she was unable to participate in the tournament on Wednesday, Williams seemed positive about her decision, calling it a blessing.
“If anything, this might be a blessing in disguise,” Williams said, according to New York Times reports. “I might get some more rest and prepare for the rest of the year.” She added, “I have more opportunity to rest up and get 200 percent healthy, which could be a dangerous thing.”