With what figures to be her final Olympics on deck, Serena Williams is making Rio her priority.
Having already announced she won’t defend her title in Cincinnati, which this year is sandwiched after Rio and before the U.S. Open, Williams has now pulled out of the Rogers Cup (in Montreal this year for the WTA, Toronto for the ATP), citing shoulder inflammation.
Williams, who will turn 35 in September, is coming off her record-tying 22nd Grand Slam title at Wimbledon and would have been the top seed in Canada. If Angie Kerber can play after withdrawing from Bastad (elbow) this week, she’ll be the new top seed, while 2015 finalist Simona Halep now gets her own quarter of the draw.
A three-time Rogers Cup champion (2001, 2011, 2013), Williams took one of just three losses from all of 2015 at this event last year, falling to teenager Belinda Bencic in the semifinals (the defending champion, Bencic is also out with injury).
Despite that Wimbledon title, Williams is again at risk of losing the No. 1 ranking, as she’ll drop 350 points from Canada and 900 from Cincinnati, meaning. With plenty of points to gain after early losses last year, Kerber can claim the top spot if she wins one and make a good run at the other (or reaches the final at both). Because Williams will only have seven tournaments on her rankings, it’s also possible she could lose it after the U.S. Open to one of multiple players, but from that point on, she has no points to defend from 2015 and will only be increasing her total.