The withdrawals from the US Open tennis tournament continued with two-time champion Venus Williams and Sofia Kenin pulling out of the event starting on 30 August.
While Venus pulled out due to an injury, Kenin announced her withdrawal, as the 22-year-old American has tested positive for COVID-19.
A few hours after Serena Williams pulled out of the event, her older sister Venus too withdrew from the year's last Grand Slam.
Venus tweeted that she would not be participating in this year's US Open starting next week, due to a persistent leg injury.
"It's super, super, super disappointing," Williams said, in a video which she posted to her Twitter and Instagram accounts. "I'm having some issues with my leg all this summer, and just couldn't work through it.
"I tried my best here in Chicago [at the WTA 250 Chicago Women's Open], but I just was unable to figure out the equation. And there's been so many times where I've been able to figure it out, even not in the best of my health, but this time, I just couldn't make any miracles work."
Serena withdrew due to a hamstring injury.
Venus had her Grand Slam breakthrough at the 1997 US Open, where she zoomed to the final as an unseeded 17-year-old. Three years later, she won the 2000 title in Flushing Meadows, then defended her crown the following year for two of her seven Grand Slam singles titles.
"I'm going to miss the Open," former World No.1 Williams said. "It's my favorite Slam. I've had so many amazing memories there, and I can't wait to get back out on the court, whenever that is. I'll work with my team to make it as soon as I can."
Williams is currently at World No.147 in the WTA singles rankings. She was initially awarded a wildcard into the US Open main draw but snuck in as a direct entry earlier in the week after the withdrawal of Kirsten Flipkens.
On Monday, Williams lost in the first round of the Chicago Women's Open to Hsieh Su-Wei, in the first meeting between the two fan favorites.
On Wednesday evening, Kenin also announced her withdrawal, as the 22-year-old American tweeted that she would be out of the US Open after positive tests for COVID-19.
"Fortunately I am vaccinated and thus my symptoms have been fairly mild," Kenin tweeted. "However I have continued to test positive and thus will not be able to compete at the US Open next week."
"I plan to spend the next several weeks getting healthy and preparing to play well this fall," World No.5 continued. "Thank you all for supporting me. I want to wish all the players the best of luck in New York."
Kenin would have been the top-ranked American in the field at her home Grand Slam next week. She reached two Grand Slam finals last year, winning the 2020 Australian Open title for her first major victory, then making the Roland Garros final at the end of the season.
Kenin has not played on tour since a second-round loss to Madison Brengle at Wimbledon.
(with IANS Inputs)