St. Petersburg, Florida -- World No.2 Serena Williams will not take part at the WTA Finals in Singapore after receiving medical advice regarding a troublesome shoulder injury. The 22-time Grand Slam champion, 35, made the announcement late on Sunday after missing recent tournaments in Wuhan and Beijing due to the same issue; shoulder problems also kept her out of the Rogers Cup and Western & Southern Open earlier in the summer.
“I was looking forward to competing in Singapore this year and playing against the best players in the world,” said Williams.
“However, I have received disappointing news from my doctor that I must undergo a series of medical treatments for my shoulder and will be off the court for the next several weeks.
"I will miss coming to Singapore for the year-end Finals and playing in front of my fans but truly hope to be back soon.”
Williams has participated in eight tournaments this season, winning two titles, Wimbledon and Internazionali BNL d'Italia - Rome, where she tied Stefanie Graf for the Open Era record of Grand Slam titles. She also reached the finals of the Australian Open and French Open, and tied Graf for the all-time record of most consecutive weeks at World No. 1, at 186 straight weeks.
Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep, Agnieszka Radwanska, Karolina Pliskova, Garbiñe Muguruza, Madison Keys and Dominika Cibulkova have already qualified for the tournament, which starts on October 23 and ends on October 30.
The withdrawal of Serena Williams has opened up the eighth qualification spot for the Singapore event, now providing chances to Britain's Johanna Konta, Spain's Carla Suárez Navarro and Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova. Either Suárez Navarro or Kuznetsova must win the title in Moscow at the VTB Kremlin Cup next week in order to edge out Konta for the eighth and final qualifying spot.
Steve Simon, WTA CEO stated, "We're as disappointed as the fans not to see Serena finish her season in Singapore. We wish her a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing her back competing, fit and healthy. The race now intensifies this week as players fight for the remaining berth. Fans can expect an exciting WTA Finals this year, with reigning champion, AgaRadwanska, defending her title and our World No.1, Angie Kerber, seeking to consolidate her outstanding season with a victory in Singapore."
Watch Serena Williams' video message to her fans regarding her withdrawal below: