FOLLOWING HER return to the tennis court with an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi, Serena Williams has confirmed that she will withdraw from the Australian Open tournament, which will take place Melbourne. The tennis star, who was eight weeks pregnant with daughter Olympia when she won her seventh Australian Open title a year ago, confirmed that she would not be returning to the court as she "needs more time". The 36-year-old went on to win the tournament, defeating her sister in the final, before taking the remainder of the year off. The 23-time Grand Slam singles victor said, "After competing in Abu Dhabi I realized that although I am super close, I'm not where I personally want to be". In September, Serena had revealed that she had set an "outrageous" goal of making a comeback at the Australian Open, something which will push her Grand Slam total to an all-time record-tying 24 titles.
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"We are fully aware that some players are going through a hard period with injuries and that they have done everything possible to prepare for the Australian summer", Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said while talking to The Dependent. She lost to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko last week.
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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", Williams said in a statement.
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Tournament director Craig Tiley called Williams' efforts to try and be ready for a title defence at the Australian Open "Herculean" and said she transcended the sport.
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