Stars Are Starting To Pull Out of Doha - Li and Williams
epa03542306 Venus Williams of the USA in action during her 3rd round match against Maria Sharapova of Russia at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 18 January 2013. EPA/MARK DADSWELL AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT |
Leading names are starting to drop from this week’s Doha WTA event, with former Grand Slam winners Li Na and Venus Williams the first to pull the plug. Organizers may have to at least be somewhat nervous as they await the arrivals of Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, currently the top three in the world.
China’s fifth-ranked Li has not recovered from the ankle injury which bothered her during the dramatic Australian Open semi-final last month in Melbourne. Williams cited an ongoing lower back injury as the 32-year-old’s career looks like winding down.
Williams has already pulled from the Paris indoor tournament as weekend Fed Cup play in Rimini against Italy. Her sister Serena mentioned back pain during the Australian Open as she went down to Sloane Stephens – also injured and currently off the court – and tournament officials might want to wait and count Serena present when and if she actually arrives in the Gulf.
A day after Melbournian pessimism reigned over the Australian Open hopes of Nick Kyrgios, the player’s coach Todd Larkham maintained things aren’t quite so bad as his player maintained. Kyrgios underwent a day of scans and examinations to his injured back and leg after losing to Jerzy Janowicz in the first round of the Apia International in Sydney.
The upcoming Davis Cup tie between Britain and the United States in Glasgow could see a unique doubles confrontation with the Murray brothers taking on the Bryan twins on day two of competition. As always the Bryans will be an automatic part of American captain Jim Courier’s selection for the rubber between the two founding nations of this historic competition.
Jamie Murray and John Peers started the 2015 ATP World Tour season in strong form, winning their fifth team title with victory at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp. This week, they are looking to back it up with another trophy at the Heineken Open in Auckland.
Kevin Anderson and Michael Venus took time away from their Heineken Open preparations to check out the new BMW i8 at an Auckland racetrack. Though the field trip was all in good fun, the two athletes made time for some friendly competition. Venus emerged victorious in their impromptu "hot lap", but Anderson was quick to offer a good-natured excuse.