Serena Williams Pulls Out Of Australian Open

Serena Williams Pulls Out Of Australian Open

Serena Williams won't be defending her Australian Open title after the American withdrew from the first grand slam of the 2018 season, saying she needs "more time" after giving birth previous year.

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.

Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam victor and Australian Open champion, said: "Although I am super close, I'm not where I want to be".

In January a year ago, Serena won the Australian Open for an Open-Era record seventh time, defeating her sister Venus.

The younger Williams sister goes on to say in a statement to media, "My coach and team always said "only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way". It was never going to be good enough for her to just compete".

Open tournament director Craig Tiley expressed his admiration for Williams's efforts to return to the game she loves.

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"Serena transcends the sport in the way she approaches all aspects of her life and consistently gives her all in everything she does".

The 2018 Australian Open comes just four months after the 36-year-old gave birth to a daughter, Alexis Olympia, with her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

The decision did not come easily or quickly for Williams, who is only one Grand Slam title away from achieving an all-time record in wins.

On Thursday, Britain's Andy Murray pulled out of the tournament, which starts on 15 January.

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal both practised on the Rod Laver Arena as they look to step up their fitness for the Australian Open.

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

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