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Serena Williams adds to Miami Open withdrawals

The American says she is not ready to play after having “oral surgery”, another blow to a tournament already hit by a series of big-name withdrawals

Serena Williams - Melbourne Serena Williams – Melbourne

The Miami Open has already been significantly depleted on the men’s side. Now, the biggest attraction in the women’s draw is also out.

Serena Williams withdrew from the upcoming WTA 1000 tournament on Sunday, citing a need to recover from a recent oral surgery.

“Miami is a special tournament for me because it’s my home,” Williams said in a statement. “I am sad I won’t be able to see the incredible fans this year, but I look forward to coming back soon.”

The 39-year-old, who lives close by in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., has won the Miami Open a record eight times but has not lifted the trophy since 2015. In three appearances since that 2015 triumph, she has not advanced past the fourth round. At No 7 in the world, Williams would have been among the title contenders in Miami but certainly not the odds-on favourite. The American has played in only two tournaments in 2021, withdrawing from the Yara Valley Classic prior to the quarter-finals before losing to eventual champion Naomi Osaka in the Australian Open semis.

Williams recently practiced with Grigor Dimitrov, seemingly in good health, but the unexpected oral procedure has put her back on the sidelines.

Growing list of Miami absences.

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem on the Miami withdrawal list. All three players indicated that they are hesitant to travel to the United States amidst the coronavirus pandemic, especially with only one WTA 1000 taking place instead of the normal two. Indian Wells has been postponed for a second straight year. In 2020, Indian Wells was the first tournament cancelled because of Covid-19, quickly followed by Miami as the Tours shut down for five months.

Miami is happening in 2021, but clearly it won’t have the kind of field it is used to.

On the bright side for tournament director James Blake, Petra Kvitova and

Why hello there @MiamiOpen 🌴

— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) March 21, 2021

Qualifying at the Miami Open begins on Monday. Women’s main-draw action gets underway on Tuesday, while the men’s field of 128 will kick things off on Wednesday.

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