Melbourne | Serena opts out
Serena Williams has joined the list of absentees who are missing this year’s Australian Open which starts on January 15 and consequently will not defend the title she won 12 months ago.
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. Serena Williams
The 36 year-old mother of one, was promising to return to win her 24th grand slam title and match the record currently held by Australia’s Margaret Court. However, having only given birth to her daughter some four months ago, she has decided that she has not fully recovered to take on the current contingent of top players having lost an exhibition match Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi last week.
She released the news in a statement posted on her Snapchat account on Thursday.
“After performing in my first match after giving birth I realized that although I am super close I’m not where I personally want to be,” she wrote. “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.
“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.”
Serena, the seven-time Aussie champion who won last year’s Open while a few weeks pregnant, added: “However, the memory of last year’s Open is one that I will carry with me and Olympia and I look forward to coming back again. I appreciate the support and understanding of my fans and everyone at the Australian Open.”
Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said: “The true champion Serena is has been demonstrated in the herculean efforts she has made over the past few months in her desire to play the Australian Open.
“Serena transcends the sport in the way she approaches all aspects of her life and consistently gives her all in everything she does.
“It was never going to be good enough for her to just compete, she wants to give herself the best chance to win.
“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 eleventh hour to make her final decision.
“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.”