Serena Williams has called an end to her 2015 season and withdrawn from the China Open and WTA Finals in order to address her fitness issues.
The world No. 1 has not played a competitive match since her shock defeat in the U.S. Open semi-finals to Italian, Roberta Vinci, which put paid to her hopes of claiming a maiden calendar Grand Slam.
Williams was scheduled to end the season—in which she won the Australian and French Opens and Wimbledon—with appearances at the China Open and the WTA Finals, but she has now withdrawn from both:
Per a statement released by the China Open (h/t Eurosport), the 21-time Grand Slam winner said she has made the decision in order to recover from a succession of injuries with which she has been struggling all season:
It's no secret I've played injured most of the year - whether it was my elbow, my knee, or, in the final moments after a certain match in Flushing (Meadows, the US Open venue), my heart. I'm a fierce competitor and I want to compete as well as I can, for as long as I can.
So I am taking a proactive step and withdrawing from tournaments in Beijing and Singapore (the WTA Finals) to properly address my health and take the time to heal.
It is clear that the 34-year-old was devastated to lose in New York last month with a clean sweep of major titles in 2015 just two victories away.
Indeed, her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, recently suggested she may not be motivated enough to play again this season given the intensity with which she approached her pursuit of all four majors, per Melissa Isaacson of espnW.com.
As noted by Eurosport, the American will finish the season as the world No. 1 regardless of other results before the end of the year after winning a remarkable 55 of her 58 matches.
Her defeat to Vinci in the last four at Flushing Meadows was one of the biggest shocks in tennis history, so dominant had Williams been in her pursuit of the calendar Grand Slam.
Given that she is, undoubtedly, nearing the end of her staggering career, the Michigan-born star is surely making the correct decision in addressing her fitness to preserve her longevity at the top of the game.
Her decision blows the season-ending eight-competitor WTA Finals wide open—Williams would have been the heavy favourite—and world No. 2 Simona Halep will now fancy her chances of triumphing in Singapore.