Williams sisters out of doubles

MELBOURNE, Australia – Serena and Venus Williams pulled out of the doubles competition at the Australian Open before their first-round match, citing a lower left leg injury to Venus.

"I would love playing doubles, I love playing with Venus. Sometimes it doesn't work out but I'm sure we'll be back next year," Serena said.

Serena had just completed her third-round singles match, a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Daniela Hantuchova in another day of torrid conditions. Temperatures reached 102 during the match. And afterward, although Williams was interviewed by one Australian television station, she turned down a Tennis Channel request, sparking speculation she was suffering some after-effects from the heat.

"Obviously, I think she was struggling with the heat a little bit," Hantuchova said earlier when asked about Williams' relatively flat play early.

But Williams said the heat was not the reason she skipped the interview.

"No, I didn't feel dizzy afterward," she said. "I had some pressing things I had to take care of."

Four-time champions at the Australian Open, the Williams were the favorites to win doubles this year.

Serena Williams said she did not know how or when her sister's injury occurred.

"I don't know, you'd have to ask her," she said. "I know it was taped in Auckland [two weeks earlier]. "

Asked whether it was a relief that she did not have to deal with the heat any longer Friday, Williams shrugged.

"I guess it's a relief," she said. "But like I said, we love to play doubles and we love to be out there. I love getting extra practice like that, so I'll definitely miss it. I don't know if it's a relief, but I will miss it."

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