By Alberto Amalfi
© Mark Peterson/Corleve
(October 19, 2010) Serena Williams has largely limited her tennis activities to announcing a series of withdrawals since she won Wimbledon in July. The 13-time Grand Slam champion stepped out the rest of her season today in officially withdrawing from the WTA Tour Championships in Doha this month and the Fed Cup final next month. Williams said she "re-tore the tendon" in her right foot and underwent a procedure to repair it, effectively ending a season in which she played just six tournaments, winning both the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
"It is with deep frustration that I am withdrawing from the WTA Championships at Doha and the Fed Cup Final. Pushed by my desire to return to competition, I trained too hard too soon and re-tore the tendon in my foot," Serena announced in a statement on her official website. "As a result, yesterday morning I had to have another procedure to repair it. I thank everyone for their continued support during this difficult time and look forward with strength and determination to getting back on the court."
Serena did not say how long she will be sidelined or exactly when she expects to return. She concludes the 2010 season with a 25-4 record.
Older sister Venus Williams announced earlier she is done for the season due to a knee injury. Serena's announcement means the United States will be devoid of a top-50 ranked singles player on the squad when it hosts Italy in the November 6-7th Fed Cup final in San Diego.
It marks the second straight year Williams has withdrawn from the Fed Cup final after committing to competing.
A year ago, Serena committed to playing the Fed Cup final in Italy, but pulled out days before it was set to start citing a knee injury. Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta led Italy to a 4-0 victory over the USA on the red clay of Reggio Calabria. Though the USA owns a 9-1 Fed Cup record against Italy, French Open champion Schiavone and the 22nd-ranked Pennetta are set to represent the defending champion in next month's final, making Italy a strong favorite against the Americans.
Serena will not defend her Doha title. Her next scheduled event is the Hopman Cup where she is set to partner John Isner in the ITF international mixed team exhibition event set for January 1-8th at the Burswood Dome in Perth, Australia.
Will Serena make it to the starting gate in January?
Given her greatest Grand Slam success has come at the Australian Open, it seems likely Williams will try to play the Melbourne major where she is defending champion after outdueling Justine Henin, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 to capture her fifth career Australian Open championship in January.
Williams, who lost her World No. 1 ranking to Caroline Wozniacki last week, was scheduled to play the Generali Ladies Linz last week, but pulled out the day before the tournament was set to start saying she aggravated her surgically-repaired right foot after practicing in Florida.
"Yesterday morning I felt discomfort in my foot and tests by my doctor revealed that I had unfortunately re-strained it, as a result of over training," Williams announced on her official web site 10 days ago. "I am likely out for the year now. I was really looking forward to beginning my comeback in Linz, followed by the year-end championships in Doha. I feel completely heartbroken, and devastated, but knowing I will never be given more than I can handle I plan on coming back stronger and better. However, in order not to make this worse, I have to chill on my physical workouts but I will immediately begin rehabbing as soon as I get the Doc's OK. Keep me in your prayers (I need them)."
The announcement came a day after Williams pulled out of Linz.
The 13-time Grand Slam champion has not played a match since she beat Vera Zvonareva in the Wimbledon final in July.
In the absence of the Williams sisters, U.S. Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez will rely on the core of the team that has carried the USA to the Fed Cup final — World No. 61 Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 69th-ranked Melanie Oudin and World No. 1 doubles player Liezel Huber — in next month's final. It is possible Vania King, who partnered Yaroslava Shvedova to win the Wimbledon and US Open doubles crowns, will be named to the team for the final.