Serena Williams pulls out of Australian Open

Serena Williams pulls out of Australian Open 2018

Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Australian Open because of concerns about her fitness four months after giving birth to her first child.

The 36-year-old American last week played her first match since giving birth in September.

Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam winner and the reigning Australian Open champion, said: “Although I am super close, I’m not where I want to be.”

Williams was eight weeks pregnant with daughter Olympia when she won her seventh Australian Open title in 2017.

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.”

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.”

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