Serena Williams has announced that she will miss the tournaments leading up to the U.S. Open. Williams recently cut her foot on broken glass at a restaurant and will need surgery.
Williams has not said whether she will be able to play in the U.S. Open, but it isn't looking likely. Even if she can play then, she will have missed any warm-up tournaments which will make it very difficult for her to play well. With Justine Henin already out due to injury, this year's U.S. Open and the tournaments beforehand should be wide open for a lot of players.
I have said all year that Maria Sharapova will win the Open and I'm standing by that. However, I think it will be a very competitive tournament. Venus Williams, Jelena Jankovic, Caroline Wozniacki, Kim Clijsters and Vera Zvonareva are among those who definitely have a shot.
There's no question that Serena is the best player in the game right now, but with her out, someone else has to step up and show they deserve to win a major (or another major in some cases).
There's certainly a chance that Serena will play the U.S. Open, but even as good as she is, it's hard to imagine her winning without any warm-up tournaments. There's also a possibility she could play in New Haven the week before the Open, but she usually doesn't do so and prefers to practice the week before the Open.
It's never a good thing when a top player is injured, but it's always interesting to see what players emerge and move into the limelight. The U.S. Open series starts on the 26th for the women and I'm looking forward to seeing who plays their best over the next month.