Tennis legend Venus Williams withdraws from 2023 Dallas Open match at SMU
Dallas fans of Venus Williams won't get to see her play in person next month after all. The tennis icon has withdrawn from the Dallas Open's inaugural Women’s Tennis Classic Showcase due to injury, organizers announced January 20.
Williams' opponent, Danielle Collins, also backed out due to a scheduling conflict, they said.
But the match is still happening, and it will still star two top-ranked American players: Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens.
According to a release, former U.S. Open finalist Keys and former U.S. Open champion Stephens will go head-to-head in the Women’s Tennis Classic on Saturday, February 4, at 7 pm.
They will play a three-set singles match and also (in a new twist) a set of doubles featuring two of the SMU Women’s Tennis players. The Women's Classic will kick off the 2023 Dallas Open, taking place February 4-12 at the Styslinger/Altec Tennis Complex at SMU.
Some stats about the two new opponents, sent from the organizers: Keys and Stephens have combined to win 13 singles titles in their careers, having faced off seven times in professional competition, with Stephens holding a 5-2 edge. Their singles match at the Women’s Tennis Classic will be a rematch of the 2017 U.S. Open Final, in which Stephens topped Keys, 6-3, 6-0. Stephens is currently ranked No. 36 in the world while Keys, a 2022 Australian Open semifinalist, is currently ranked No. 13. Both women have reached the quarterfinals-or-better in each of the four Grand Slams during their careers.
“I love playing against Sloane,” said Keys in a statement. “We are close friends and always have some amazing matches against each other. Looking forward to another competitive match at the Women’s Tennis Classic.”
Added Stephens, “I’m excited to be a part of the Women’s Tennis Classic at the Dallas Open. It’s an honor to share the court with a great friend and competitor like Madison, along with the SMU athletes.”
Williams' withdrawal, while disappointing, didn't come as a complete shock: The 42-year-old had recently withdrawn from the Australian Open (currently taking place in Melbourne) due to and undisclosed injury she sustained during a tournament in Auckland, New Zealand.
Stephens lost in the first round of the Australian Open, while Collins and Keys lost in the third round.
Premium seating, individual session, and weeklong tickets that include the women’s match are on sale now and available at dallasopen.com.
Dallas-Fort Worth is in the midst of some tennis fervor: The 2022 Dallas Open last February marked the return of ATP Tour level tennis to Dallas for the first time in more than 30 years. (It featured over 60 world-class ATP Tour men's professionals and was televised worldwide to more than 100 countries.)
In fall 2022, the Women's Tennis Association finals were held at Fort Worth's Dickies Arena, the first time they'd taken place in the United States since 2005. Caroline Garcia of France took home the coveted women's singles trophy.