Tennis

New York | Pregnant Kerber to miss US Open

Former champion US Open champion Angelique Kerber will miss the 2022 edition because she is pregnant.

The 2016 champion and former World No 1 made the announcement on her social media channels on Wednesday.

“I really wanted to play the US Open, but eventually I decided that two against one just isn‘t a fair competition,” the 32-year old posted with a host of emojis.

Kerber’s triumph in New York six years ago assured her rise to the top spot, a position held for 34 weeks between 2016 and 2017. She is now currently ranked No 52 in the world.

As well as her title win in 2016, Kerber dethroned Serena Williams as the World No 1 after winning her semi-final, while the American lost the other Last 4 clash to Karolina Pliskova.

Kerber then defeated Pliskova in 3 sets to win the US Open title, making her the first German woman to win the singles title in New York in 20 years.

Kerber is also a champion at Wimbledon and at the Australian Open, and she last played at Wimbledon this year, where she lost in the 3rd-round to Belgian Elise Mertens, and has been quiet about her summer schedule plans before dropping this news.

“New York has often been a turning point in my career and it feels like this year will be no different in some way,” she wrote. “From restarting my career in 2011 to winning the title in 2016 and becoming No 1 in the world… the US Open [has] a special place in my heart and I wish I could have said goodbye to all of you on court before not being around on tour for a while.”

A lucky loser will take Kerber’s allotted place in the US Open women’s singles draw, which will be made on Thursday, once qualifying is completed.

“For the next months I will take a break from travelling the globe as a tennis player, but then again I believe it’s for the best possible reason. I will miss all of you,’’ she added.

‘‘Being a professional athlete means everything to me but I’m grateful for the new path I’m heading to. To be honest, I’m nervous and excited at the same time. Thanks for your continued support – it means everything to me.’’

Kerber’s only title this season came at the Internationaux de Strasbourg in May while she won the Bad Homburg Open in June 2021.

While she has not confirmed a comeback, there are reports Kerber will return for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Williams returned to the women’s tour after the birth of her daughter in 2017, and Kerber’s compatriotTatjana Maria has two children and has also successfully returned to the WTA Tour.

Four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters, who also went back to professional tennis after giving birth, wrote on Twitter: ‘‘Oooooh, congratulations Angie! Great news.’’

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