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There's No Defense for U.S. Open

August 03, 2003|Lisa Dillman

The withdrawals of Serena Williams and Pete Sampras from the upcoming U.S. Open mean this will be the first time since 1971 that both winners from the previous year won't be back to defend their titles.

That year, Margaret Court and Ken Rosewall missed the U.S. Open. Court's absence was because of pregnancy. Rosewall opted not to participate.

Sampras is all but retired, and Williams, winner of five of the last six Grand Slam events, had knee surgery Friday in Los Angeles, and will be out six to eight weeks.

WTA CEO Larry Scott said Saturday that the move to have surgery was made quickly after Williams decided she needed to have the procedure.

"I have spoken to Serena this week, and I know she was frustrated by the injury and very down," Scott said. "I'm sure she's going to come back very strong. If all goes according to plan, she plans on being back to save her No. 1 ranking."

Said Arlen Kantarian of the U.S. Tennis Assn.: "I think the world now knows what a true competitor Serena has been with a less than perfect knee."

-- Lisa Dillman

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