Serena pulls out of Hopman Cup

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Perth, Australia (Sports Network) - has withdrawn from next month's Hopman Cup, a mixed teams exhibition tournament. The world No. 3 Williams hasn't played since beating her older sister Venus in the Wimbledon final back in July. She underwent left knee surgery on August 1 and was forced to miss the U.S. Open, where she was the defending champion.

The Hopman Cup serves as a tune-up event for the Australian Open, where the former world No. 1 Williams is the reigning titlist, having beaten Venus in last year's title match.

Hopman Cup director Paul McNamee announced that former world No. 1 would replace Williams at this year's tournament. Williams paired with fellow American James Blake to capture last year's event. Blake and Davenport will now comprise the American team.

"Serena regrets not being able to come back and defend her title, but we have a wonderful replacement in ," McNamee said.

Williams was a remarkable 38-3 in 2003, including Grand Slam titles at the Aussie Open and Wimbledon. Her sister Venus has also been sidelined since Wimbledon, as she has battled an abdominal strain injury.

Venus said last month that she planned on playing a tune-up event before the 2004 Australian Open, which will get underway January 19 in Melbourne.

The Hopman Cup will be staged from January 3-10.

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