New Mom Serena Williams Withdraws from the Australian Open, Offers Heartfelt Explanation

Jessica Allison
January 8, 2018

Fans of tennis superstar Serena Williams were gearing up for her big comeback to the sport later this month, but they're going to have to wait a bit longer.

Serena Williams announced she won't play the upcoming Australian Open as she is not 100% ready after giving birth just four months ago.

Williams was pregnant when she won at Melbourne Park previous year, her Open-era record 23rd Grand Slam singles title.

She gave birth to her daughter, Alexis, in September. But, after losing to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi last week, the pro has made a decision to take some downtime before heading to the Melbourne competition later this month.

We're not mad at all about Serena needing and taking more time to get back into GOAT shape. "With that being said I am disappointed to say I've decided not to compete in The Australian Open this year". Pictured: Williams at her Ladies Final match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia on day three of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship at International Tennis Centre Zayed Sports City on December 30, 2017 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

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The 36-year-old Williams needs only one more major title to equal the all-time record held by Margaret Court, who won 13 of her 24 Grand Slam titles before the Open era began in 1968.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley expressed his admiration for her efforts to return to the game she loves. "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".

There are also fitness concerns regarding top seeds Rafael Nadal and six-time champion Novak Djokovic, although Nadal has landed in Melbourne and was seen hitting the courts.

Few players have successfully bounced back after giving birth, and even fewer have managed to go on to win Grand Slam titles.

The 2018 Australian Open begins January 15 and ends January 28.

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