Tennis: Serena Williams pulls out of Australian Open

Former world number one Serena Williams has announced that she will not take part in the upcoming Australian Open, even though her initial goal for the season was to defend her title in Melbourne. The 36-year-old American has returned to action last week after having given birth to her first child last year. Williams was eight weeks pregnant when she won the Australian Open title in 2017, her seventh crown at this event. Last week Serena Williams lost an exhibition match against Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi.

"Although I am super close, I'm not where I want to be," Serena Williams said. "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. 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." Serena Williams is now ranked 22nd in the world after having missed the most part of last season.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said: "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 11th hour to make her final decision. Serena transcends the sport in the way she approaches all aspects of her life. It was never going to be good enough for her to just compete, she wants to give herself the best chance to win." Without Serena Williams, the bookmakers don't have a big favourite for this year's Australian Open: Garbine Muguruza is 6/1 at Bet365 to win it, Karolina Pliskova is 7/1, Maria Sharapova is 8/1 and current world number one Simona Halep is 9/1 to win the tournament in Melbourne.

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Members Comments

  • Bulgaria sharpe


    So obviously she won't participate if her staff don't believe she'll go and win it! Yeah she could afford choosing e tournaments to play in if anyone.
    I'm sure her opponents will be glad to hear that though, no wonder there's no clear favourite now, it's been the case on any tournament since Serena's absence.

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