Williams to miss Australian Open

I can compete, but I don't want to just compete. She later gave birth to daughter Olympia in September, and then Wednesday Alexis Ohanian and in November.

Defending champion Serena Williams has withdrawn from this month's Australian Open in Melbourne.

The 36-year-old Williams needs one more Grand Slam singles title to equal the all-time record held by Margaret Court, who won 24 titles before and during the Open era. Williams indicated after her loss to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko that she might not make it to Melbourne. "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", Williams said in a statement.

However, she said on Friday morning: "After competing in Abu Dhabi I realised that, although I am super close, I'm not where I personally want to be".

Tournament director Craig Tiley called Williams's efforts to try and be ready for a title defence at the Australian Open "Herculean" and said she transcended the sport. "I appreciate the support and understanding of my fans and everyone at the Australian open", she said. In Abu Dhabi, Williams was clearly sluggish and had problems with her serve.

In her announcement, Williams said that she will soon return to the Australian Open, but will first focus on her daughter.

"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".

The 2018 Australian Open begins January 15 and ends January 28.

Few players have successfully bounced back after giving birth, and even fewer have managed to go on to win Grand Slam titles.

On Thursday, men's world number 22 Kei Nishikori withdrew because of a wrist injury.

There are also fitness concerns regarding top seeds Rafael Nadal and six-time champion Novak Djokovic, although Nadal has landed in Melbourne and was seen hitting the courts.


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