The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Venus future under cloud

Berlin: Venus Williams’ future looks more uncertain than ever after her decision to withdraw from this week’s $1,262,000 German Open with a pulled stomach muscle.

This is the second time in a few days that she has pulled out of a big money tournament. She has already decided to withdraw from the Italian Masters in Rome starting Monday.

It means that the former world No. 1 has played in only four WTA tour events all year, and still has not won a title in more than eight months.

The 22-year-old American may now go into the French Open in three weeks time less prepared for a Grand Slam than ever before.

“It is not good when it’s an abdominal strain,” said Venus, meaning that such ailments can take a long time to get right. “It needs more time but it’s not my job to sit at a desk.”

This reference may well be an attempt to answer gossip that she is now more interested in her interior design business than in her tennis.

After suffering one of the worst defeats of her career, to compatriot Meghann Shaughnessy at the Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami in March, Venus immediately announced she was taking a month off.

Her absence means that Justine Henin-Hardenne moves up to second seed and is likely to clash with Amelie Mauresmo, who moves up to fourth, in the semis.

The other semi-final can well be between top seeded Kim Clijsters and Jennifer Capriati.

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