Ana has withdrawn from Beijing due to that darn thumb and it's sounding much more serious than originally thought. She may have to completely immobilize the hand with a cast, which will obviously affect her preparation and participation in the US Open.
One issue of concern has been the fact that her camp has no idea what's wrong with her thumb. They thought it was soft tissue related, but the thumb hasn't been responding to treatment and they started to think it might be a bone issue. So this could have factored into the decision too. It's hard to compete with all your effort when you don't know what the injury is.
Here's hoping they can figure it out and treat it before the US Open. Is this another argument for tennis not being in the Olympics? Look at how many players are choosing not to threaten their US Open participation by withdrawing. The bottom line is that to tennis players, the Olympics aren't as big of a deal as Grand Slams. They try to convince themselves it is, but when all is said it done, it isn't. There's no way that Ana withdraws from a Grand Slam with pain in her thumb. She would play as many rounds as possible, at a minimum to earn rankings points. You don't think about tomorrow with Grand Slams. But with all other events, you do.
Anyway, I'm bummed. Not sure who to root for now.
UPDATED: Ok, so this picture? Kind of heartbreaking:
"It's one of the hardest moments in my career," she said. "I'm very, very disappointed." This should put to rest anyone's doubts (including mine) that (1) the decision to withdraw was extremely difficult and (2) the injury is serious. Baby Panda looks absolutely gutted.
UPDATED: From Ana's site:
Ana has been forced to withdraw from the Olympic Tennis Event due to the inflammation in her right thumb that has afflicted her for the past few weeks.
"This is the most disappointing moment in my career," said Ana. "A whole team of doctors have been helping me over the last 15 days or so but the improvement came too late. Yesterday I was able to hold my racket properly for the first time but I still have a lot of pain in my thumb. There's no way I can hit the ball.
"We did everything we could but we ran out of time. I will continue to have treatment from an osteopath and hopefully I will be ready for the U.S. Open.
"I would like to thank the medical team for their efforts, and for the many people who sent me messages of support. I'm sorry to all the people who were hoping to see me play at the Olympics, and represent my country there for the first time. It's so disappointing.
"The best way for me to get over this disappointment is to do well in New York."
UPDATED: According to her presser, the doctors have advised that she immobilize her hand. So Baby Panda is going to be rocking a cast? Sure, Ana will make the cast look sexy, but however will she hold Rafa's hand?