Right wrist remains problem area for Venus

Updated: July 28, 2004, 12:05 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Venus Williams pulled out of the Acura Classic on Tuesday with a sprained right wrist, an injury that also forced her to withdraw from the semifinals of last week's tournament in Carson, Calif.

WTA spokesman Jim Fuhse made the announcement just a few hours before Williams' opening-round match against Gisela Dulko.

Venus is scheduled to play in the Athens Olympics Aug. 16-22, and the U.S. Open begins Aug. 30. She said over the weekend that the latest injury is new and not related to the right wrist tendinitis that has plagued her in the past.

A disappointed Williams addressed the center court crowd at the La Costa Hotel and Spa before heading off for treatment.

"I have been resting my wrist and receiving as much treatment as possible in order to give myself every possible chance to play," she said. "Unfortunately, there just wasn't enough time to recover. I've been advised to let the wrist fully heal in order to prevent aggravating it even more seriously."

Instead of facing the 11th seed and one of the top power players in women's tennis, Dulko cruised to a 6-3, 6-4 win over lucky loser Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand, the highest-ranked player who failed to qualify for the main draw.

Williams said last week that the injury occurred when she pushed off her arms to get up after tying her shoe two hours before Saturday's semifinal against Lindsay Davenport. Williams trailed 7-5, 2-0 when she retired.

"At 3-0, I started to have issues," Williams said at the time. "I just couldn't control my forehand that much and the more she saw that, the more she was hitting there and that didn't help."

Williams has won three straight titles in Carlsbad, from 2000 to 2002.

"I'm really sorry to all the fans who were hoping to watch me play, but with such a great field, there's definitely going to be some exciting tennis and great matches this week," she said. "I appreciate everyone's support and understanding."

Williams was off the WTA Tour from last July to January with an abdominal muscle injury that disrupted her playing schedule even before she decided to rest. Her inactivity caused her to finish the year ranked out of the top 10 for the first time since 1997.

Venus, who was No. 13 this week, lost her injury-protected ranking beginning Monday. As a result, she was seeded 11th in Carlsbad before pulling out. She was the No. 2 seed in Carson.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.