Fans looking forward to seeing one of the greatest players in women's tennis will have to wait another year, as Serena Williams will miss the China Open Saturday due to illness.
Early Thursday morning, according to Sports Illustrated, the China Open’s official account posted a message via the Chinese Twitter service Weibo saying: "This is regrettable news and we hope Serena Williams will get well soon."
Williams, later in the afternoon, tweeted a message of her own ''Flu no fun,'' but made no mention of the China Open.
The China Open is a Premier-level event on the WTA schedule and is one of four "mandatory" tournaments for 2012. The 15-time Grand Slam champion won the China Open in 2004.
Her absence is a big blow to the organizers of the Beijing event as the world number four -- who has already qualified for the season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, next month -- is one of the tour's most bankable stars, Channel NewsAsia said.
The WTA China Open starts on Saturday with Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland defending her title after against a host of top players, including world number one Victoria Azarenka, Russian Maria Sharapova and home favorite Li Na. Williams will be replaced by Switzerland's Romina Oprandi.
The currently fourth-ranked Serena just enjoyed one of the best summers in the history of women's tennis. The 31-year-old is now just the second woman ever to complete the Career Golden Grand Slam, winning all four Grand Slams and Olympic Gold.
"It's too much. I never expected gold in singles. I was so happy with my doubles golds. I thought if my career's over I have my gold medal, now I have everything, literally. I have everything there is to win in tennis," an overjoyed Williams said in her on-court interview moments after crushing Maria Sharapova at the 2012 London Olympics, according to WTA News. "Where do I go from here?"
"Now I can go to Disneyworld," she added.