Australian Open champion Serena Williams withdraws from tournament

Jan 08, 2018, 02:43
Australian Open champion Serena Williams withdraws from tournament

The season's first major starts on January 15 at Melbourne Park and seven-time Australian Open champion Williams will be missing it for the first time since 2011.

Barely ten days to the kick off of this year's Australian Open, defending champion, Serena Williams, has announced her withdrawal from the tournament. Prior to that her last competitive match was at the Australian Open final nearly a year ago, which she won despite being two months pregnant, memorably beating sister Venus in the decider.

The 36-year-old was hoping to return to the court after the birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia in September.

The American showed plenty of promise in an exhibition defeat to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi last week.

"After competing in Abu Dhabi I realized that although I am super close, I'm not where I personally want to be", Williams said in a statement released Friday by Australian Open organizers.

Serena Williams will not participate at this year's Australian Open.

Williams might be "super close" but she doesn't yet think she is in championship-winning shape. Williams is the latest big name to withdraw from the year's opening grand slam, with Britain's Andy Murray (hip) and Japan's Kei Nishikori (wrist) having already said they would not compete.

"We all wish her the very best and I look forward to seeing her back on court this year, and can't wait to welcome her back to the Australian Open in 2019".

But Williams said that she would be back at the Australian Open once she was back up to snuff.

"I've been in constant contact with Serena and her team and know this is why she has pushed it and pushed it until the 11th hour to make her final decision", he said. No. 1-ranked Simona Halep and No. 3 Caroline Wozniacki are bidding to win their first Grand Slam singles titles. The former No. 1 hasn't played an official match since winning her 23rd Grand Slam there a year ago beating sister Venus in the final.

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