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Serena Williams Out of Open

World's No. 1 player will be sidelined six to eight weeks after surgery to repair a partial tear in the quadriceps tendon in her left knee.

August 02, 2003|Lisa Dillman | Times Staff Writer

Serena Williams, winner of five of the last six Grand Slam titles and the world's No 1-ranked player, will not be defending her U.S. Open championship in New York because of left knee surgery on Friday.

Williams, 21, had the procedure in Los Angeles, repairing a partial tear in the quadriceps tendon. The tear was in the mid-portion of the tendon, according to her doctor.

Orthopedic surgeon Rodney Gabriel performed the operation on Williams, who had it on an outpatient basis.

Not only will Williams miss the upcoming Open, her participation in the season-ending WTA Championships at Staples Center is in doubt. Gabriel said it would take about six to eight weeks for Williams to fully heal.

"Serena has suffered from quadriceps tendinitis of her left knee for many years, which has been controlled with medication and physical therapy treatments," Gabriel said in a statement. "She recently developed pain that, although improved with treatment, increased whenever she resumed tennis activities.

"Secondary to an acute injury, an MRI evaluation [on Monday] of her left knee was performed, which demonstrated a partial tear in the mid-portion of her quadriceps tendon."

Her father, Richard, and a couple of other family members were said to be with her on Friday after the procedure.

Said Gabriel: "I expect a 100% recovery and Serena's speedy return to competitive tennis."

The releases from her representatives and from the WTA Tour had no statement from Williams. She had pulled out of three consecutive tournaments because of the knee problem, starting with the event last week in Palo Alto. Serena had been scheduled to play this week at Carlsbad and next week in Carson.

Serena's absence will not only change the outlook at the Open but the positioning at the top. Already, No. 2-ranked Kim Clijsters of Belgium has been closing the gap and, even before Williams' surgery, put herself in position to take over No. 1 next week in Carson.

On the face of it, Serena's older sister, Venus, a two-time Open champion, would benefit the most from the withdrawal, but Venus has been recovering from a lingering abdominal injury. Venus has not played since losing to Serena in the Wimbledon final and has pulled out of Fed Cup and La Costa.

Serena's only loss in her last six Slams was to Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium in the semifinals at the French Open this year.

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