Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams has pulled out of this year's tournament. Venus, who turned 33 on Monday, said on Facebook that she is extremely disappointed as she loves the grass-court major, “but I need to take time to let my back heal. I look forward to returning to the courts as soon as possible, with my goal being to return to World Team Tennis on July 8 in Washington DC.”

Venus injured her back sometime in early April, which forced her to pull out of Madrid. She returned to play in Rome, where she lost her opening match to Laura Robson. She considered not playing Roland Garros, but decided to and lost a three-hour and 19-minute match to Urszula Radwanska; by the end Venus had trouble serving.

Since defeating her sister Serena for her last Wimbledon title in 2008 and then losing to Serena in the 2009 final, Venus has struggled at the All England Club. She was upset by Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova in both 2010 and 2011, and last year was shocked by Elena Vesnina in the first round, 6-1, 6-3.

Venus has been battling Sjorden’s Syndrome, an auto-immune disease, since 2011.

“What I've gone through, it's not easy,” Venus said. “But I'm strong and I'm a fighter. I don't think I'm just playing for me now. I think I'm playing for a lot of people who haven't felt well. I think for me today it's a positive to be able to play three hours. I'm constantly finding ways to get better and to feel better. For me, I would never give up because obviously at some point everyone has to retire. That's an asterisk, but I feel like I have to give myself a chance to continue working on feeling better. I wouldn't just give up just because it was difficult. That's not me. So my thing is that I'm going to continue trying.”