Serena Williams Withdraws From Australian Open

Defending champion Serena Williams has pulled out of the Australian Open on Friday.

“After competing in Abu Dhabi I realized that although I am super close, I’m not where I personally want to be,” The 36-year-old 23-time Grand Slam winner said in a statement released Friday by Australian Open organizers.

“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.”

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

-Devashree Goenka