Tennis star, Serena Williams has withdrawn from this year’s Australian Open in Melbourne.
The mother-of-one made the announcement via Snapchat on Thursday, January 4. This is the first time since 2011, that Williams has missed the tournament.
“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 in a statement. “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”
Williams, who is the reigning Australian Open champion and 23-time Grand Slam winner, said she needed more time to be ready and defend her title after regaining full fitness.
The 36-year-old old was eight weeks pregnant when she won her seventh Australian Open title in 2017.
“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,” Williams continued. “I appreciate the support and understanding of my fans and everyone at the Australian Open.”
American Open director Craig Tiley said:
“I’ve been in constant contact with Serena and her team and know this is why she has pushed 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.”
Williams lost an exhibition contest against Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi on 30 December 2017, in her first match since giving birth.
The new mom isn’t the first or only star to leave the tournament, men’s world number 22 Kei Nishikori withdrew because of a wrist injury. The tournament will be played from Jan. 15 to Jan. 28.