Wimbledon: Venus Williams to miss tournament for first time since 1997
Five-time singles champion Venus Williams has pulled out of Wimbledon because of a back injury.
Last Updated: 18/06/13 9:40pm
The 33-year-old struggled with the problem during the clay-court season and was knocked out of the French Open in the opening-round by Urszula Radwanska.
She has not played since withdrawing from the doubles at Roland Garros with sister Serena and has decided not to risk aggravating the problem by playing at SW19.
"Unfortunately, I will not be able to participate in Wimbledon this year," said Williams.
"I am extremely disappointed as I have always loved The Championships, but I need to take time to let my back heal.
"I look forward to returning to the courts as soon as possible, with my goal being to return to Mylan World Team Tennis on July 8th in Washington DC."
Williams has become increasingly prone to injury as well as battling the auto-immune disease Sjogren's Syndrome.
She had climbing back up to 34 in the rankings on the back of two semi-final appearances on the WTA Tour and had not missed Wimbledon since her debut in 1997 and won in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008.
She suffered her first opening-round defeat since 1997 to Elena Vesnina last year but won the doubles title for a fifth time with Serena.