By Erin Bruehl, USTA.com
After a few days of much speculation, Venus Williams has informed U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez that she will not be able to play in this weekend’s semifinal tie against Russia in Birmingham, Ala., because of a knee injury she aggravated at the Sony Ericsson Open last month, where she lost in the final.
“I am continuing to rehabilitate my knee and regret that I will not be able to participate in the Fed Cup tie against Russia this weekend. I waited until this moment in hopes that I would have an opportunity to play, but I am being advised by my medical support team that I will need more time to recover,” Williams said in a statement given to USTA.com.
“The USTA and Mary Joe Fernandez have been supportive through this rehabilitation process and I am appreciative of their efforts as well as the kind words that I have received from so many people in the Birmingham community,” she added. I will be rooting for a United States win and look forward to returning to Fed Cup competition.”
Fernandez named three Fed Cup team members last week in Melanie Oudin, Liezel Huber and Bethanie Mattek-Sands and left the fourth spot open for Williams, the No. 4 player in the world, to potentially join the team.
In place of Williams, Fernandez will choose either Sloane Stephens or Julia Boserup, two talented young players traveling with the team as Future Fed Cuppers, to fill the fourth spot on the team.
The full lineups and order of play for the weekend’s tie will be announced at the official draw ceremony on Friday.