Serena Williams: Top junior player Taylor Townsend shouldn't be held out over fitness concerns

Taylor Townsend of the United States returns a shot against Anett Kontaveit of Estonia during their junior girls' singles quarterfinal match on Day Twelve of the 2012 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 7, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood, of the Queens borough of New York City. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA

(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - Serena Williams says she's alarmed by the U.S. Tennis Association's decision to hold a top junior player out of competition over concerns about her fitness.

Sixteen-year-old Taylor Townsend is the world's top-ranked girl. The Wall Street Journal first reported last week that the USTA withheld funding her tournament appearances while she focused on getting in better shape.

"If that happened, that's obviously a tragedy, because everyone deserves to play," Williams said Monday, a day after winning the U.S. Open.

Serena Williams beats Victoria Azarenka for fourth U.S. Open title

"She's so sweet and she works so hard," she added. "For a female, particularly, in the United States, in particular, and African-American, to have to deal with that is unnecessary. ... Women athletes come in all different sizes and shapes and colors and everything. I think you can see that more than anywhere on the tennis tour."

Townsend played at the Open, winning the junior doubles title and reaching the quarterfinals in singles.

"She's still No. 1," Williams said. "That's saying something."

Williams, who will turn 31 on Sept. 26, joined "CBS This Morning" on Monday and laughed off any questions about possible retirement. She said she's focused on competing in all of the Grand Slam tournaments next year, particularly the Australian Open. (Watch interview at left).

"I have a fighting change...to go down under. My favorite place to play is in the heat down in Australia. I've done really well there, I love playing there," she said of the Australian tournament.

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