WUHAN, China – Venus Williams has pulled out of the forthcoming Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open in Wuhan, China, the tournament has announced.

The WTA World No.21 does not feel “that she’s physically ready to compete at the highest level”, a statement from the organisers reads.

The 38-year-old was last in action at the US Open, where she was defeated by sister Serena, 6-1, 6-1, in the third round of the Grand Slam event.

Venus is a previous winner in Wuhan, having defeated Garbiñe Muruguza in the 2015 final, when the Spanish player had to retire hurt, trailing by a set and 3-0. 

She would, however, have been unseeded for the event this year, with 16 of the top 17 players in the WTA World Ranking taking part.

Additionally, there have been five wildcards confirmed for the tournament: Victoria Azarenka; Wang Qiang; Bernarda Pera; Samantha Stosur and Zheng Saisai.

WTA World No.4 Caroline Garcia is the defending champion at the event, having edged Ashleigh Barty, 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 6-2 in a thriller last year.

The competition begins on September 23 and runs through until September 29.