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Serena out of Olympic tennis event

Venus and Serena are the reigning Olympic doubles champions.
Women's singles
1-Justine Henin-Hardenne (Bel)
2-Amelie Mauresmo (Fr)
3-Anastasia Myskina (Rus)
4-Elena Dementieva (Rus)
5-Svetlana Kuznetsova (Rus)
6-Venus Williams (USA)
7-Paola Suarez (Arg)
8-Ai Sugiyama (Jpn)
9-Nadia Petrova (Rus)
10-Patty Schnyder (Swi)
11-Francesca Schiavone (It)
12-Karolina Sprem (Cro)
13-Anna S-Pistolesi (Isr)
14-Silvia Farina Elia (It)
15-Magdalena Maleeva (Bul)
16-Chanda Rubin (USA)
Men's singles
1-Roger Federer (Swi)
2-Andy Roddick (USA)
3-Carlos Moya (Sp)
4-Tim Henman (GB)
5-Juan Carlos Ferrero (Sp)
6-David Nalbandian (Arg)
7-Rainer Schuettler (Ger)
8-Sebastien Grosjean (Fr)
9-Marat Safin (Rus)
10-Nicolas Massu (Chl)
11-Juan Ignacio Chela (Arg)
12-Paradorn Srichaphan (Tha)
13-Andrei Pavel (Rom)
14-Nicolas Kiefer (Ger)
15-Tommy Robredo (Sp)
16-Fernando Gonzalez (Chl)
• Olympics 2004: Special report 

ATHENS, Greece -- Former women's world number one Serena Williams has pulled out of the Athens Olympics.

U.S. Olympic spokesman Randy Walker said her sports surgeon had advised her to withdraw rather than risk long-term injury to her left knee.

Serena paired with her sister Venus to win Olympic gold in the doubles at the Sydney Games and was due to contest both doubles and singles in Greece.

"I've never been this disappointed in my career," Williams told The Associated Press by telephone from Florida on Wednesday night.

"The good news is I don't need surgery. That's the only good news."

Her withdrawal follows news that U.S. rival Jennifer Capriati is also to miss the Games with a hamstring problem.

Williams, beaten by Russian Maria Sharapova in the Wimbledon final, was forced to withdraw from WTA tournaments in San Diego and Montreal because of the knee injury.

She denied that security concerns had influenced her decision.

"My decision was based solely on one, two, three, four, five, six different doctors' opinions and what would be the best decision for my career, long-term," she told the AP.

Sad and disappointed

"I am sad and disappointed, not only because I am unable to travel to Greece and participate in the Olympics but also because I gave my word that I would play."

She will be replaced in the singles draw by Australia's Samantha Stosur.

Venus, the defending women's singles champion, will now team up with Chanda Rubin in the doubles.

Rubin was originally scheduled only to contest the singles when the tennis tournament starts Sunday.

Both sisters have been hampered by various injuries for about a year.

Serena had knee surgery last August and was sidelined for eight months.

Organizers also announced the seeds for the tournament on Wednesday.

Belgian world number one Justine Henin-Hardenne is the top seed in the women's singles, followed by France's Amelie Mauresmo and Russian Anastasia Myskina.

Venus is seeded sixth in the singles, but with new partner Rubin is unseeded in the doubles.

Compatriots Lisa Raymond and 47-year-old Martina Navratilova are seeded three in the women's doubles with Russian pairing Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Likhovtseva top.

Wimbledon and Australian Open champion Roger Federer of Switzerland heads the men's seedings, as expected, followed by American Andy Roddick, Spaniard Carlos Moya and Briton Tim Henman.

American twins Bob and Mike Bryan are the top seeds in the men's doubles.

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