Robert Deutsch / USA TODAY Sports
For the second straight year, Serena Williams is taking a pass on the WTA’s China swing.
Williams has pulled out of both the Wuhan Open (a Premier 5 tournament) and the China Open in Beijing (a Premier Mandatory), the tour’s two biggest remaining events before the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore, she announced Friday.
The world No. 2 cited the right shoulder injury that has plagued her throughout this season as the reason for her withdrawals, but says she still has her sights set on playing in the tour finals after skipping the event in 2015.
“I have been practicing and playing but my shoulder is still not fit for tournament play,” she said in a statement. “I wish the tournaments great success and I’m sure the fans will enjoy some great tennis. I am focused on getting ready to compete in Singapore.”
The Wuhan main draw kicks off on Monday, with Beijing getting underway the week following. The tour finals are set to begin Oct. 24.
Williams has played just eight tournaments in 2016, making this her sparsest season schedule since a pulmonary embolism limited her to six events in 2011. Of those eight events, she made five finals and won two titles, including her record-tying 22nd Slam at Wimbledon.
Having shut it down after the US Open last year, the fall swing would’ve given Williams a chance to gain a ton of points and perhaps retake the No. 1 ranking from Angelique Kerber. Instead, the WTA will have a non-Williams year-end No. 1 for the first time since 2012.