Serena Williams appears to have called time on her season following her meltdown at the US Open after being left out of the China Open draw on Friday.
Williams’ name, along with sister Venus, did not appear on a list of 64 players ahead of the start of the tournament in Beijing.
It comes less than three weeks after the tempestuous US Open final, where Williams accused the umpire of lying and sexism in an angry and ugly rant during her 6-2, 6-4 defeat to Japan’s Naomi Osaka.
The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion later said she wanted to “move on” from the incident, but maintained that women players could not get away with “even half of what a guy can do”.
“Right now we are not, as it’s proven, in that same position,” the 37-year-old told Australia’s Channel Ten.
“But that’s neither here nor there. I’m just trying most of all to recover from that and move on.”
The episode polarised tennis with many expressing sympathy for the US icon, while others said her behaviour was out of line.
Osaka was in tears during the victory ceremony for her first Grand Slam win as boos rang out from the New York crowd, prompting Williams to call for calm.
“We cannot measure ourselves by what we think we should also be able to get away with,” Czech-born American Martina Navratilova wrote in the New York Times.
“In fact, this is the sort of behaviour that no-one should be engaging in on the court.”
Reports from America said Williams’ season is now over, which would make it the fourth year in a row she has curtailed her playing commitments.
Last year it was due to her pregnancy, while in 2016 she called it quits after the US Open citing a shoulder injury. In 2015 she took a break after narrowly failing to win all four majors in the same year, following a shattering defeat in New York to Italy’s Roberta Vinci.
The biggest event left on the 2018 calendar is next month’s elite, eight-player WTA Finals in Singapore. Williams is currently 11th on the Race to Singapore rankings.
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