Serena withdraws from Miami Open tennis tourney

COMPILED FROM WIRE
AND STAFF REPORTS

The Miami Open’s star-packed field will be missing one marquee name.

World No. 1 Serena Williams announced late Tuesday afternoon that she is withdrawing from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., and the Miami Open on Key Biscayne, citing a left knee injury.

Bad knees
“Sadly, I have to withdraw from the BNP Paribas Open and the Miami Open,” said Williams’ statement. “I have not been able to train due to my knees and am disappointed I cannot be there. I will keep moving forward and continue to be positive. I look forward to being back as soon as I can.”

Williams, 35, won the Australian Open in January, but has not played any matches since. She took over the No. 1 spot in the rankings with that win, but her absence from the upcoming tournaments will move her back to No. 2 behind Angelique Kerber.

Last year, Williams had an earlier-than expected exit from the Miami Open, an event she has won eight times, including three in a row from 2012-15. She lost in the fourth round to 19th-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova. It was just the second time she did not reach the quarterfinals.

Last year at the tournament, Williams won her 700th career match on her way to capturing her eighth career Miami title. The future Hall of Famer has won the Miami Open more than any other event in her storied career.

Health first
“Unfortunately, injuries are a part of sports and the player’s health must always be the first priority,” said Miami Open Tournament Director Adam Barrett in a statement posted to the event’s website. “As an eight-time champion we know how much Serena loves playing our event and we hope she is able to get back on the court soon.”

Barrett added, “Starting March 20th, we look forward to hosting another world class event with an elite player field featuring each of the top 76 ranked men’s players and 69 of the top 73 ranked women’s players.”

Stellar list
The 2017 Miami Open player field features a combined 12 Grand Slam singles champions including Roger Federer, who claimed his 18th major title at this year’s Australian Open, 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic, and three-time Grand Slam champions Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka, two-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber and former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro.

Qualifying rounds will be played March 20-21 and will determine 12 additional slots in each singles draw. The Miami Open will also award wildcards to five men and eight women.

The main draw begins on Tuesday, March 21 as the women take the court, followed by the first round of the men’s main draw on Wednesday, March 22. Two weeks of tennis as well as fashion, food and other events during the tournament conclude with the women’s final on Saturday, April 1 and the men’s final on Sunday, April 2.

The Miami Open will receive over 12,000 hours of global TV coverage and will be broadcasted to 193 countries/territories to nearly 70 million viewers worldwide.

Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald / TNS contributed to this report.

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