Serena Williams has pulled out of the 2016 Qatar Open with the flu having earlier withdrawn from the Dubai Championships.
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Williams Out of 2nd Successive Tournament
Tuesday, Feb. 16
"I have come down with the flu and do not feel 100 percent. I need to take this time to recover but I do look forward to returning to Doha and seeing my fans soon," Williams said in a news release, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com).
Williams remains, even at age 34, the most dominant force on the WTA Tour by a significant margin. Her combination of power and shotmaking ability puts her among the top tennis players of all time, a status she bolstered with a trio of major titles last year.
Injuries are one of the few things that can slow her down, though. All of the matches and training over the past two decades has taken a collective toll, so any time an ailment pops up, such as the knee problems she had to open the 2016 season, it's obviously a concern.
At this stage of her career, the most important thing is being as close to 100 percent as possible for the top events, even if it means sacrificing some of the smaller tournaments. How the latest setback could impact her availability for the majors is the biggest question mark.
All told, it's amazing how long Williams has been the gold standard of women's tennis, and it's a role she should assume once again when back to full strength.