Tennis: Venus pulls out of Hobart event

Venus Williams. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Venus Williams. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Former world No.1 Venus Williams has pulled out of this week's Hobart International tennis tournament.

The 33-year-old American informed organisers of her decision on Sunday morning less than 24 hours after losing a tight final, 6-2 5-7 6-4, to Ana Ivanovic at the WTA event in Auckland.

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Hobart organiser Mark Handley said there was no indication Williams had an injury.

The seven-time grand slam champion has fought health issues in recent years and is now ranked 47.

"I don't believe she has an injury,'' Handley said.

"I just think that she's played a lot of tough, close matches over in Auckland and in the lead-up to a first grand slam (of the season) she's not taking any chances.''

Seven-time grand slam winner Williams is expected to fly straight to Melbourne for practice ahead of the Australian Open beginning next week.

Currently ranked No.47 in the world following an injury-affected 2013, Williams was unseeded in Hobart and had been drawn to play fifth seed Flavia Pennetta.

Pennetta will now play a lucky loser in the first round.

The American's withdrawal is a major blow for the low-key Hobart tournament which, with Australian No.1 Sam Stosur, had put together its best field in years.

The two stars were on opposite sides of the draw and expectations were high they could meet in a blockbuster final.

Handley said he was hopeful Williams would play at the Domain Tennis Centre in 2015.

"It's totally understandable, she's a superstar,'' he said.

"That's life in general on the tour. These things happen.''

- AAP

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