Serena Williams will not travel to Singapore for this year's season-ending Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Finals due to shoulder injury.
The winner of 22 Grand Slam titles, who came close to winning a calendar-year Grand Slam in 2015, managed to compete only in eight tournaments, including the Rio Olympics, in the ongoing year. Her only major win came at 2016 Wimbledon and the American tennis star even conceded the number one rank to Germany's Angelique Kerber.
Serena, who also withdrew from last year's WTA Finals, revealed that her doctors have advised rest to recover completely from her long-persisting shoulder injury. She added she would miss her fans at the season-ender, which will be held from 23-30 October at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
"I was looking forward to competing in Singapore this year and playing against the best players in the world," Serena said in a video message, as quoted by the WTA.
"However, I have received disappointing news from my doctor that I must undergo a series of medical treatments for my shoulder, and will be off the court for the next several weeks.
"I will miss coming to Singapore for the year-end Finals and playing in front of my fans but truly hope to be back soon."
With Serena pulling out, Kerber will finish the season as the top-ranked women's tennis player for the first time in her career.
The race for the eighth spot to join Kerber, Simona Halep, Agnieszka Radwanska, Karolina Pliskova, Garbine Muguruza, Madison Keys and Dominika Cibulkova has also opened up. Britain's Johanna Konta, Spain's Carla Suárez Navarro and Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova will now have to fight for the single spot.