Reigning champion Serena Williams pulls out of Australian Open

Novak Djokovic during a press conference

Serena Williams announced she won't play the upcoming Australian Open as she is not 100% ready after giving birth just four months ago.

Ms Williams returned to the court on December 30 at the World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, where she lost an exhibition match against Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 3-6 10-5.

"After competing in Abu Dhabi I realised that although I am super close, I'm not where I want to be", the 36-year-old said. "I want to do far better than that and to do so, I will need a little more time". "I appreciate the support and understanding of my fans and everyone at the Australian Open", she added.

She had won the tournament seven times, with her first victory coming in 2003.

"After the two events, a decision will be made about his participation at the first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open, where Novak has been crowned champion six times".

The tournament director Lawrence Robertson and team tried to offer Williams the star wildcard into the event but the 23-time grand slam champion on Thursday confirmed she would not be playing; leaving her comeback plans a mystery. She wants to give herself the best chance to win.


Williams is the latest big name to withdraw from the year's opening Grand Slam, which will be played from January 15 to 28, with Britain's Andy Murray (hip) and Japan's Kei Nishikori (wrist) having already said they would not compete.

"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".

There are also doubts over the fitness of Spanish world number one Rafael Nadal and Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka, who won the title in 2014.

Five different players also shared the top ranking in 2017 after Williams was dethroned during her hiatus.

Garbine Muguruza: the reigning Wimbledon women's champion retired from the Brisbane International with severe cramps but has since been cleared to play in Sydney next week.

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