Serena falls ill with the flu and is forced to withdraw from her second consecutive tournament. Last week she was forced to miss the ongoing Dubai Tennis Championship, and her continued sickness has forced her to withdraw from the 2016 Qatar Open, also known as the Qatar Total Open, starting on Friday. The younger of the two Williams superstars and world number 1 has not featured on the Woman’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour since she was upset by German Angelique Kerber during last month’s Australian Open Tournament in Melbourne.
According to Sporting News, Serena has fallen ill with the flu and will spend the tournament on the sidelines. Serena was a finalist in the 2013 Qatar tournament and announced on Tuesday that she is disappointed to miss her second tournament in a row due to illness.
“I unfortunately have to withdraw from the Qatar Total Open as I have come down with the flu and do not feel 100 percent. I need to take this time to recover but I do look forward to returning to Doha and seeing my fans soon.”
She posted this photo to her Instagram account after making the announcement:
Serena, a 21-time grand slam title winner, is not the only tennis superstar to pull out of the Doha event. With only a week until the tournament begins, Maria Sharapova, the world number 6 and five-time grand slam winner, has also been forced to pull out of the Doha event due to an arm injury.
Serena falling ill with the flu and Sharapova out with an injury has been a blow to the Qatar Open event organizers as their two biggest names will be no shows. The biggest name at the Qatar Open is now the world number 2, Angelique Kerber, the 28-year-old German who defeated Serena in the 2016 Australian Open finals. The number 3 Simona Halep and number 4 Agnieszka Radwanska will still be playing the 2016 Qatar Open tournament at this stage.
Injuries and the occasional bout of illness are the only thing that can slow Serena down, and even at the age of 34, which is considered older for tennis players, she is still one of the most dominant players on the WTA Tour and has been for over a decade. She is known for her incredible power and flawless shots that have kept her at the top of her game and the number 1 in the world on and off since 2002. As well as having fallen ill with the flu, Serena has been battling knee problems since the Australian open in early 2016.
Serena is a powerhouse on and off the tennis court and has been ranked world number 1 on six different occasions by the WTA. She is regarded as the best female tennis player of all time and is the champion of the French Open, Wimbledon, and Olympic women’s singles and doubles. She holds a record of 36 major tennis titles across singles, doubles, and mixed doubles.
Serena’s record off the court is just as impressive as on the court. Since becoming a tennis champion, she has written a book, created her own clothing label, started a fund creating equal access to education and assisting victims of senseless community violence, and become the star of the new Berlei advertisements. She also looks after her Yorkshire terrier, Chip.
Serena has fallen ill with the flu briefly but her sister Venus Williams battles a full-time illness, Sjogren’s syndrome. Since Venus was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease in 2011, both the Williams sisters have adopted a raw vegan diet during tournaments and a mostly vegan diet during their off periods to combat the disease and increase performance. Together they have won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles and the sisters are unbeaten in Grand Slam tournament finals.
[Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images]