Report: Venus Williams out vs. Belgium

Updated: January 24, 2011, 10:09 PM ET
Associated Press

Venus Williams will miss next month's Fed Cup quarterfinal against Belgium because of injury, a person familiar with the U.S. Fed Cup team's plans told The Associated Press on Monday.

Williams informed U.S. captain Mary Joe Fernandez she could be sidelined for a few weeks, the person told the AP. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Fernandez was planning to publicly announce her roster Tuesday.

A hip injury caused Williams to stop playing only minutes into her third-round match at the Australian Open last week. She was hurt during a second-round victory and then tried to play again two days later but conceded the match after seven points -- the first time in her career the 30-year-old Williams has retired from a Grand Slam match due to injury.

After bowing out in Melbourne, Williams was asked whether she might miss other events, and she replied: "I don't know yet. When I come back to play next time, I'll be 100 percent. So I won't be back until whenever that is. Hopefully -- who knows -- maybe it'll be for Fed Cup."

Surprise 2009 U.S. Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and doubles specialist Liezel Huber are expected to be on Fernandez's team. It wasn't immediately clear who would be the fourth member instead of Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion.

Her absence means neither Williams sister will play in the best-of-five series Feb. 5-6 on an indoor hard court at the 14,000-seat Antwerp Sports Palace. Williams' younger sister, 13-time major champion Serena, has not played a tournament match since July because of a foot injury.

Belgium's team is expected to include Grand Slam title winners and former No. 1-ranked players Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin.

The Williams sisters have not competed for the U.S. Fed Cup team since 2007.

The United States lost to Italy in the Fed Cup finals in 2009 and 2010, Fernandez's first two years as the U.S. captain. The Americans last won the Fed Cup title in 2000.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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