Serena Williams withdraws from Australian Open

Serena Williams withdraws from Australian Open

The 36-year-old was eight weeks pregnant last year when she triumphed for a seventh time at Melbourne Park to claim an Open-era record 23rd Grand Slam title. She remained hopeful of making a return to Australia and defend her title but admitted that it's a tough task and therefore, chose to walk out. "My coach and team always said, 'Only go to tournaments when you're 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", she said (via People).

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.

It is the first time since 2011 that Williams has missed the tournament.

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Three women have returned after having babies to win Grand Slam singles titles in the Open era, including Court and fellow Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who won the 1977 Australian Open seven months after giving birth to daughter, Kelly, and added her second Wimbledon title in 1980. But Williams ended up losing in a super tiebreaker with a score of 10-5 in favor of the French tennis player.

Serena Williams unwillingly pulled out of this year's Australian Open, saying that the she is close to regaining full fitness but not at the top of her game and defend her title. Organizers later announced that French Open semifinalist Timea Bacsinszky had also withdrawn after failing to recover in time following surgery on her right hand in September. The couple Wednesday in December and as such, has had a very busy 2017 together. Meanwhile, Serbian tennis maestro Novak Djokovic is also doubtful for the Australian Open after making a late withdrawal from the Qatar Open due to an elbow injury. 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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