BEIJING, Oct. 1, 2011 -- The China Open, which formally kicks off Saturday, suffers a setback as a number of tennis superstars who were supposed to participate withdrew from the WTA premier event.
According to the tournament organizers, world number one men's tennis player Novak Djokovic, who has taken part in the China Open multiple times, has pulled out of the Beijing event due to a back injury. To the best of this journalist's knowledge, the only household name in the men's game is fallen American star Andy Roddick.
Former world number one women's player Serena Williams, who has skipped last year's China Open, is also not in draw at the mandatory WTA event. Apart from Djokovic and Williams, Russian superstar Maria Sharapova is absent from the WTA premier event, as well.
World number one female player Caroline Wozniacki, third-ranked Victoria Azarenka, world number four Vera Zvonareva, and Chinese stars Na Li and Shuai Peng are among the players contending for the $775,500 first prize.
(This is a reprint from People's Daily Online of the Oct 1, 2011 edition.)