Serena William Withdraws From Australian Open 12 Days Before The Tournament

Reigning champion Serena Williams pulls out of Australian Open

The 36-year-old had been planning to try and defend the title she claimed last year, for the seventh time in her superb career. "My coach and team always said 'Only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way.' With that being said I am disappointed to say I've decided not to compete in The Australian Open this year", she explained. However, she chose to bow out of the tournament just four months after giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia.

Serena Williams just announced that she will not be participating at this year's Australian Open. Her decision comes after a recent loss at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, where she lost to Jelena Ostapenko.

Serena Williams' return to the tennis spotlight will be put on hold after the 23-time major victor withdrew from the 2018 Australian Open.

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Williams, who only returned to the sport last week since giving birth in September, said although she was super close to full form, she was not yet where she wants to be.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said: "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". In Abu Dhabi, Williams was clearly sluggish and had problems with her serve.

World number one Rafael Nadal and six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic also have injury issues, having yet to play a competitive match this year.

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The 2018 Australian Open will begin on January 15.

Williams, whose Grand Slam tally is just one shy of the all-time record held by Australian Margaret Court, said she was disappointed to withdraw, but looked forward to returning in the future. 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 previous year beating sister Venus in the final.

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