The Miami Open got more bad news on the eve of the tournament. Serena Williams announced she is withdrawing following oral surgery.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion has won the Miami Open a record eight times, the last one in 2015. She reached the semifinals of the recent Australian Open before losing to eventual champion Naomi Osaka.
“I am disappointed to withdraw from the Miami Open because of recent oral surgery,” Williams said. “Miami is a special tournament for me because it’s my home and I am sad I won’t be able to see the incredible fans this year, but I look forward to coming back soon.”
Williams is the fourth headliner to pull out, following Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Federer and Nadal are injured. Djokovic cited the COVID-19 restrictions.
The tournament starts Monday with qualifying rounds and runs through April 4. Among the players in the field: Osaka, No. 1 ranked Ash Barty, No. 4 Sofia Kenin, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Diego Schwartzman.
“I decided to use this precious time at home to stay with my family,” Djokovic said in a statement. “With all the restrictions, I need to find balance in my time on tour and at home.”