Former world No. 1 Venus Williams has officially withdrawn from the Hobart International to focus on preparation for the Australian Open. Williams was planning to use the Hobart event as final preparations for the season-opening Grand Slam which begins Jan. 13, but has opted not to take any chances.
“I don’t believe she has an injury,” tournament director Mark Handley said. “I just think that she’s played a lot of tough, close matches over in Auckland and in the lead-up to a first Grand Slam (of the season) she’s not taking any chances.”
The 33-year-old has struggled significantly with injuries and Sjogren’s syndrome, a fatigue-causing autoimmune disease, over the past two years but has recently caught her stride as she reached the final in Auckland before losing 6-2 5-7 6-4 to Ana Ivanovic on Saturday. It was Williams’ first final since winning her 44th career title at Luxembourg in October 2012.
She will be looking to top her performance in Melbourne last year, where she reached the third round of the Aussie Open.