Just when we thought the sisters would make their marks at the Season Ending Championships in Madrid, Wimbledon champion Venus Williams has announced her withdrawal due to fatigue.
Her announcement means that Maria Sharapova won't need any favors from the WTA to qualify outright for the championships. Daniela Hantuchova tied Maria's race total with her victory in Linz today and theoretically ousted Maria by playing more tour events this season. Still, the WTA could've chosen Maria over Dani based upon the rule that states "at their sole discretion and taking into account extraordinary circumstances, the WTA Tour may select the 8th player for participation in the singles draw."
But no such shenanigans were necessary. Venus underwent tests after both the US Open and her Asian campaign and her doctors have advised her to rest.
"This year has been a great one for many reasons," said Venus. "I am pleased that I finished the year in the top eight and in recent weeks I have remained optimistic about participating in the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships. Nevertheless, the accumulation of matches has taken its toll and I have received several medical opinions to delay my return to competitive tennis. As a result, I will miss the Sony Ericsson Championships. I look forward to playing in the New Year for what will hopefully be an even better 2008."
I've never understood Venus' playing schedule. Perhaps some of her fans could shed some light. I know she loves playing in Asia, but had she played one Tier 1 event and advanced to the quarterfinals she'd have earned as many race points as she did by winning Seoul. That would've meant less effort and more rest. As my mother would say, that would've also been too much like right.
And we spectators can only assume that Venus' desire to play in Bangkok the week after injuring her right hip in the Tokyo final had everything to do with her wanting to qualify for Madrid. In Bangkok her right calf was taped from ankle to knee.
Again, it seems, the calendar is to blame. Players on the qualification bubble wear themselves out at the end of the year to qualify for the Big Event and often can't play or compete well if and when they get there because they're entirely fried.
Here's hoping rest is all Venus needs in order to get healthy and prepare for 2008.
No-shows hurting WTA