When Nike’s Clash of the Champions was announced, scheduled for March 8, it was made clear that no player could be guaranteed in the event of injury. At the time Serena Williams was announced as a participant she was still scooting around in a CAM boot and unable to train. It seemed unlikely that the former world number one would participate in the event.
Sure enough Serena has pulled out.
The American star will be replaced by Victoria Azarenka who surely feels a little like Nike’s sloppy seconds.
Serena has not played a formal match since winning Wimbledon last year. When she originally injured her foot she received 18 stitches and then proceeded to play an exhibition match (surely a clearly stupid idea) the very next day. She then tried to return to practice too soon and had to have another surgery and was put in a cast. It is now rumoured that she has a bone infection – a rumour she has not commented on that I am aware of.
“I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to play at the NIKE Clash of the Champions as I had anticipated. I’m thrilled, however, to still be able to participate in the Family Tennis Festival and in the exhibition as a referee during the mixed doubles. This is an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime event and I’m honored to be able to share my love of tennis with Pacific Northwest fans and to thank Nike tennis for all their continuous support.”
The Family Tennis Festival, which is scheduled to go for an hour and a half, is due to happen before Clash of the Champions. It is a festival open to ages 5 and up designed to promote tennis with younger age groups.