Defending champion Serena Williams has pulled out of this month’s Australian Open in Melbourne.
The world number 22 played her first match in December since giving birth in September with the hope of returning back to full fitness.
Serena Williams was beaten by Jelena Ostapenko in her comeback game at the Mubadala Championship in Abu Dhabi.
According to her, she is not at the competitive level that she wants to be and that prompted her decision not to defend the title she won last year while she was eight weeks pregnant with daughter, Olimpia.
While announcing her absence from the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, Serena Williams said: “Although I am super close, I’m not where I want to be.”
The 23-time Grand Slam winner further added that: “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.” she added.
On Serena’s withdrawal, 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.” he concluded.