“I’m very disappointed I’m not able to compete in the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati as I was really looking forward to defending my title. My shoulder inflammation continues to be a challenge, but I am anxious to return to the court as soon as possible.”
Williams accepted a wild card into the tournament last week after playing at the Rio Olympics. She withdrew Monday after a morning practice at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.
The withdrawal gives second seed Angelique Kerber an opportunity to claim the WTA No. 1 ranking this week if she were to win the title. Williams has been ranked No. 1 for 183 consecutive weeks and 306 overall.
Williams is replaced in the draw by lucky loser Misaki Doi of Japan. Doi was the No. 1 seed in qualifying, but was the fourth of the four lucky losers drawn for placement in the main draw. She moves into the second round and will play the winner of tonight’s match between Saisai Zheng and Christina McHale.