Serena Williams’ return to the tennis spotlight will be put on hold after the 23-time major winner withdrew from the 2018 Australian Open.
The 36-year-old tennis pro took to Snapchat on Thursday (Jan 4) to share that she has opted out of the Australian Open.
Williams noted she is “super close” to being ready but “not where I personally want to be” physically to handle the grind of a two-week tournament.
“After performing 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, and even though I am disappointed about it, I’ve decided not to compete in the Australian Open this year,” she 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.”
In 2017, Williams famously won her seventh Australian Open while pregnant with her daughter Alexis Olympia.
The American 23-time Grand Slam winner made a tentative return at an Abu Dhabi exhibition late last month, losing to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.
Prior to that William’s last competitive match was at the Australian Open final almost a year ago, which she won despite being two months pregnant, memorably beating sister Venus in the decider.
Her withdrawal deprives the opening Grand Slam of the year of another major star, after former world number one Andy Murray and Japan’s Kei Nishikori both pulled out injured on Thursday.
Despite this, she made it clear afterwards that she missed being on court and was desperate to play at Melbourne Park, where she has been crowned champion seven times.