Sports

Serena Williams won't play this year's Australian Open

Serena Williams won't play this year's Australian Open

The seven-time Australian Open champion hasn't played in a WTA level tournament for 12-months after having her first child in September.

"It is better to take a bit more time, and when you come back to the competition, you are ready to be yourself - win or lose is another thing - but at least be yourself and be at the top of what you can do".

Williams began last year's Australian Open one week after learning she was pregnant. This was her 23rd Grand Slam singles title, surpassing Steffi Graf's Open Era record of 22.

The 23-time grand slam victor returned to the court at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi at the weekend, less than four months after becoming a mum, but playing that tournament has given the American pause for thought.

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"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 remained hopeful of making a return to Australia and defend her title but admitted that it's a tough task and therefore, made a decision to walk out.

Lawrence Robertson, the tournament director, revealed that representatives from the tournament had been speaking to Williams' and her team for about three months about potentially playing in the tournament, though the American confirmed to the tournament earlier today she would not be in action.

The announcement comes after former World No 1 and four-time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray withdrew from the tournament less than two weeks ahead of its start.

Several other big names, including top-ranked Rafael Nadal, six-time champion Novak Djokovic and 2014 victor Stan Wawrinka, also remain under fitness clouds 10 days out from the year's first grand slam event at Melbourne Park.

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