Venus Williams to miss Wimbledon

  • Last Updated: June 18 2013, 20:22 BST

Five-time champion Venus Williams will not compete at Wimbledon this year.

Venus Williams: Won't play at Wimbledon
Venus Williams: Won't play at Wimbledon

The American, who turned 33 on Monday, said a back injury was to blame for her withdrawal.

In a statement, Williams said: "Unfortunately, I will not be able to participate in Wimbledon this year.

"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 8 in Washington DC (where she plays for the Washington Kastles team).

"Many thanks to my fans for the love and support and I will be seeing you very soon back on the courts."

Williams, who last won the Wimbledon title in 2008, is currently ranked 34th in the world.

She has fought a battle with Sjogren's syndrome, a disease which attacks the immune system, in recent years and this season has made only two semi-finals on the WTA circuit.

Most recently she lost in the first round of the French Open to Pole Urszula Radwanska before withdrawing from the doubles due to the back problem.

This year will be the first since 1996 in which Williams has not appeared at the tournament. It also means she and sister Serena will not defend their doubles title in SW19.

Serena is the hot favourite to retain her singles crown.