Australian defending champion Serena Williams, released shocking news to the organizers of the Australian Open when she decided to withdraw from the tournament.
The defending champion deemed that she was still not be ready to compete, which is hardly surprising as she gave birth on September 1, 2017.
Despite having played an exhibition event last week in Abu Dhabi in which she took a set off French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, she did not feel equipped to play seven matches over a fortnight in the sometimes punishing environment of Melbourne.
Her withdrawal is a blow to the event, which has already lost Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori, although Rafael Nadal has now arrived in Australia.
While Williams did not give a return date, a possible comeback fixture could be the Miami Open in late March, which is one of her favorite events and within driving distance of her Florida home. That has always seemed a more realistic goal for her, and for now she remains on 23 Grand Slam singles titles.
‘After competing in Abu Dhabi I realized that although I am super close, I’m not where I personally want to be,’ Williams wrote on her official Snapchat account.
‘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.
‘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.’
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Programs Manager at the Craft Silicon Foundation. He loves writing about sports, politics and news around the globe and Inspiring new young people!!