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Posted at 6:47 AM ET, 01/21/2011

Injured Venus Williams withdraws from Australian Open

By Cindy Boren

Pain shows on Venus Williams' face after her final shot. (Getty Images)

Venus Williams was forced to withdraw from the Australian Open because of injury, the first time she has retired from a Grand Slam singles event.

Williams, who suffered an injury in her previous match, had lost the first game of her third-round match to Andrea Petkovic. She lunged for a Petkovic serve in the second game and screamed in pain, then retired with Petkovic leading 30-0.

"Obviously I just couldn't play," said Williams, on the verge of tears. "I couldn't move, it was too painful."

Williams' thigh was bandaged when she was injured in her previous match, a three-set victory over Sandra Zahlavova. Williams said then that she had hurt her "psoas" (or hip flexor) muscle.

"The last 48 hours, I just did as much pain management as I could," she said. "A lot of times when you play, you get that adrenaline and that blocks pain. I just didn't get enough of that today. I was hoping for some magic that I could recover."

By Cindy Boren  | January 21, 2011; 6:47 AM ET
Categories:  Tennis  
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I've had hip flexor pulls. Forward movement is tolerable...side to side...impossible without searing pain. Took way too long to feel better too. Good luck kid.

Posted by: PanhandleWilly | January 21, 2011 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Something more important than magic is practice. If she did it more, incidents like this probably wouldn't happen. Her work ethic leaves a lot to be desired. She needs to participate through the entire season and not just try and ramp it up for the majors.

Posted by: DrFish | January 21, 2011 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Wow, DrFish, a critic are we? Questioning the work ethic of a 7-time Grand Slam winner???? She's now 30, soon to be 31..many actually retire from tennis in their mid to late 20's with or without injuries.

How many players do you know participate through the entire season? In all honesty, there are too many tourneys for that!. Regardless of your criticism, what she's done over the years has worked for her.

Posted by: awfulexcuse1 | January 21, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree with awfulexcuse1, DrFish. Unless 'DrFish' is a code name for Steffi Graf, you probably should hush. I'm pretty sure Venus has accomplished a lot more in her career at 30, than you will your whole life -- Sounds to me like someone's been sipping the Hater-ade.

Posted by: guisher | January 21, 2011 8:58 AM | Report abuse

I have no idea what Venus Williams' work habits are -- she seem fit -- but I do know that she's 30 and has been at this since she was a mere tot. She's something like a 16-year veteran, right? That's a lot of wear and tear.

Posted by: CindyBoren | January 21, 2011 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Do your homework people. For Venus to have finished without dropping a game in the second set and a go on to win the entire match with that kind of injury says alot about her...period. For the audience to "boo her because they did not get their money's worth says alot about the Aussie's!!! Venus is not a machine or an animal people! She deserves to be named athlete of the year with that second round finish.

Posted by: msmaxam | January 21, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Miss Williams knew, or should have known, that her groin injury sustained during her 6-7(6) 6-0 6-4 victory Wednesday over Miss Zahlavova logically would result in a walkover. Miss Williams did not practice Thursday, as she was in “rehab.” Friday practice was brief and limited. Scheduled to face Miss Petkovic following the Monfils-Wawrinka match, Miss Williams had been allowed maximum time for “rehab.” Calling for the trainer during the second game of the first set did not sit well with the audience, who, justifiably enraged at her theatricality, booed her from the court after her retirement. Perhaps retirement in a more permanent sense is on her mind and in her psoas.

Posted by: PeterTrump | January 21, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey, She has contributed much to the game. For example, the screams and grunts and groans. Very primeval and down to earth. Most of audience for sure must have just thought the "big one" was just the grandmammy of her earthy sounds. So very disappointed when she withdrew.

Her main problem is that her success over all those fragile women tennis players meant it had become a power game and so attracted big girl competition.

Very different kettle of fish or whatever. Probably time to retire; bound to be downhill from here.

Posted by: AmericanInterestsFirstandLast | January 21, 2011 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I was pretty sure it was her psoas - I had that once and it knocked me out. It's the same sharp pain as a hip-flexor (which ended one season in college for me) but feels like it's in the groin, though it isn't.

Posted by: 1fasthoo | January 21, 2011 11:38 PM | Report abuse

For those who say that she should have known she couldn't play...It's called HEART. Some have it, obviously some don't!
This is why she's a Champion. She made it through the 2nd round purely on heart, and personally I don't blame her for trying in the 3rd...She had never retired from a major, she wanted to keep that record intact...As she said when she was first injured.."as long as I can walk I wanna try". That's what its about people.

Posted by: NursRob | January 22, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

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