Serena Williams: Defending Australian Open champion withdraws from tournament
Serena Williams has withdrawn from the season-opening Grand Slam in Melbourne and won’t defend the title she received in 2017.
The 36-year-old hoped to return to the courtroom after the beginning of her daughter Alexis Olympia in September.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner defeated her sister Venus in final 12 months’s Australian Open 6-Four 6-Four and had a second consecutive title in her sights when the tournament began later this month.
She had received the tournament seven occasions, along with her first victory coming in 2003.
But on Friday morning the previous world primary stated she was withdrawing from the tournament, which begins on January 15.
“After competing in Abu Dhabi I realised that though I’m tremendous shut, I am not the place I personally need to be. My coach and group all the time stated ‘solely go to tournaments if you end up ready to go all the way in which’.
“I can compete – but I don’t want to just compete, I want to do far better than that and to do so, I will need a little more time.”
Ms Williams returned to the courtroom on December 30 on the World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, the place she misplaced an exhibition match towards Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 Three-6 10-5.
Williams received the tournament a 12 months in the past however will not defend her title (Getty)
Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley stated: “The true champion Serena is has been demonstrated within the herculean efforts she has revamped the previous few months in her need to play the Australian Open.
“Serena transcends the game in the way in which she approaches all points of her life and persistently provides her all in all the things she does. It was by no means going to be adequate for her to simply compete, she needs to provide herself the perfect probability to win.
“I have been in fixed contact with Serena and her group and know because of this she has pushed it and pushed it till the eleventh hour to make her closing determination.
“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.”