Venus Williams Pulls Out From U.S. Open

Two-time champion Venus Williams has pulled out of the U.S. Open before her second-round match today, tournament officials said.

Venus was supposed to play 22nd-seeded Sabine Lisicki on Wednesday but had to withdraw due to an unspecified illness.

The 31-year-old has not played since losing the fourth round at Wimbledon to Tsvetana Pironkova. Williams missed the entire hard-court season because of a virus. On Monday, she played her first match in two months against Vesna Dolonts of Russia – winning 6-4, 6-3.

Venus Williams had stated she was healthy, but her mother Oracene Williams said Wednesday, “It’s something that’s been worrisome for a long time.”

On the heels of the Williams’ news, Christina McHale upset the eighth-seeded Marion Bartoli of France, 7-6 (2), 6-2.

The 19-year-old’s victory was an encouraging win for the American team – her victory coming just minutes after the news of Venus’ withdrawal had spread.

Venus, along with her younger sister Serena, has redefined women’s tennis with her athleticism and strength. Williams turned pro in 1994 and since then has won seven Grand Slam titles, including five Wimbledon championships – joining the ranks of Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf, the only women who have accomplished this.

In 1997, Williams became the first unseeded U.S. Open women’s finalist. She unfortunately lost the championship to Martina Hingis, 6-0, 6-4.

However in 2000, she won both the Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, opening the door for a $40 million contract with Reebok.

Venus also won a gold medal in the singles competition at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. She later captured another gold with Serena in the doubles event. She became the second player to win the women's singles and doubles title at the same Olympic Games.