Defending champ Serena Williams withdraws from Aussie Open

Serena Williams announced her withdrawal from the Australian Open on Thursday, saying she is not ready to return to tournament tennis.

Williams was pregnant with her first child when she beat her sister, Venus, to win last year’s tournament at Melbourne Park, the 23rd Grand Slam singles title of her career.

Serena Williams gave birth to her daughter, Alexis, in September. She competed in an exhibition tournament last week in Abu Dhabi, losing to Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 3-6, 10-5.

“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 Thursday by Australian Open organizers.

“My coach and team always said ‘only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way.’ 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.

“With that being said, and even though I am disappointed about it, I’ve decided not to compete in the Australian Open this year.”

Earlier Thursday, Andy Murray withdrew from the Australian Open because of the lingering hip injury that has sidelined him since last year’s Wimbledon. Likewise, Novak Djokovic’s status for the tournament remains unclear, as he continues battle back from pain in his right elbow, which has sidelined him since Wimbledon as well.

–Field Level Media

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