Written by By Staff Writer
by Roger Lodge, CNN
Tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams are boycotting the U.S. Open this year, which starts at the end of August, following a dispute over the controversial relocation of the U.S. Open locker rooms in New York.
A statement from the Williams’ Tennis Foundation said the sisters will no longer attend the US Open and will continue their rehabilitation following injuries sustained at the Indian Wells, California, tournament last month.
Neither the American players nor their trainer had moved from the player parking lot to the tournament’s locker rooms in their vehicle, the statement said.
The pair of tennis stars were brought to the attention of officials on Sunday by Frank Sedita, attorney for the U.S. Tennis Association.
“The issue was was this: the night before they were going to have to have an important gym session and because of the tournament rules, and in light of the horrible accident that happened to Venus in March, Venus had given permission for that gym session to take place but she couldn’t participate due to the rule that requires you to vacate the player parking lot to do so,” Sedita told CNN, referring to Venus’ spinal cord injury that resulted in surgery in March.
“There were a number of out-of-court surgeries done at the same time that Serena needed as well, and she wanted to make sure that the time that she did have off was occupied, that she was able to recover completely from those in the best possible way and that she wasn’t going to be just sitting around any longer.”
After Venus’ surgery last month, Serena is in the same boat in regards to her rehab.
“Clearly this agreement needed to be changed and the results of those changes are that the cars are now fine and fully compliant with the tournament rules,” Sedita said.
“Now the drivers of those cars are allowed to remain in the stadium, completely compliant with tournament rules, their games are going to go on and the players in the stadium are going to be spectators.”
Venus on Friday had made clear she was unhappy with her treatment after the incident at Indian Wells, which led to a three-year ban on the Williams sisters from entering the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in the future.
“The first rule of playing professionally is to do the right thing and if you don’t do the right thing, you’re subject to be penalized,” Venus said after her win in the first round of the Florida tournament on Friday.