By Alexandra Willis
25 November 2010
Andy Murray and Laura Robson have moved a step closer to taking home one of the famous Hopman Cup diamonds, after the British duo were moved up to second seeds following the withdrawal of Serena Williams from the 2011 event. Murray and Robson impressed on their debut in Perth last year, narrowly losing a tight final to the Spanish team of Tommy Robredo and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.
Williams, who has also been forced to pull out of next year’s Australian Open, has been struggling with injury since cutting a tendon in her foot outside a restaurant in July. “As I continue to rehabilitate my foot after the second surgery last month, it is with the utmost regret that I am withdrawing from the Hopman Cup and the 2011 Australian Open Championships,” the former world No.1 said in a statement. “As I recently learned, pushing myself back into my intense training too early only caused me further injury and damage.”
“While I desperately want to be back on the court and competing in the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, it is imperative for my health that I continue to work with my doctors to ensure my foot heals properly. This decision, though heavy on my heart, is the right one. I am praying for a healthy recovery and I promise my Aussie fans and my fans around the world that I will be back better than ever as soon as I can be.”
The 13-time Grand Slam champion has not competed since winning The Championships at Wimbledon in July, and as a result has seen her ranking slip from No.1 in the world to No.4. Being unable to defend her Australian Open title will cause her to drop further down the rankings.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley commented: “Serena is a great champion and we will miss her. We send her our very best wishes for a speedy recovery.”
Williams will be replaced at the Hyundai Hopman Cup, an ITF singles and mixed doubles event, by Bethanie Mattek-Sands, partnering John Isner, for Team USA. The top seeds remain the Serbian duo of Ana Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic, Murray and Robson are seeded second, Justine Henin and Steve Darcis are seeded third for Belgium, and Francesca Schiavone and Potito Starace are seeded fourth for Italy.
The Hyundai Hopman Cup will take place from 1-8 January 2011 in Perth, Australia.
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