By:- Hemant Gaur
This year Serena Williams won’t be defending her Australian Open title after the American player withdrew from the first grand slam of the 2018 season, saying she needs “more time” after giving birth to a baby girl last year.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion had a baby four months ago, and has said she wanted to return to defend her title at the Australian Open. But this week, she announced she would not be playing the event.
A week ago, Serena traveled to Abu Dhabi and played against 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in an exhibition. Although Serena Williams lost the match.
“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 Williams said in an interview to The Australian .
She also added, “”With that being said, and even though I am disappointed about it, I’ve decided not to compete in the Australian Open this year.”
Having broken Steffi Graf’s Open Era record last January with a seventh title at Melbourne Park, Williams needs one more grand slam title to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record.
“It’s never an easy decision to skip a Grand Slam, I guess for any professional, and for sure for Serena… but it’s the best,” said her coach Mouratoglou.
Even as a new mother, her coach says she still has the desire to return to winning big titles. Mouratoglou says that she now could return at Indian Wells or Miami.
Williams will have dropped off the rankings when she returns to the tour, but will be eligible for a protected ranking.
Williams, now ranked 22 in the world, is not the only major name to withdraw from the Australian Open, which starts on January 15.
Former world No.1 Andy Murray said he would not competing in Australian Open because of a hip injury, while US Open finalist Kei Nishikori has also withdrawn, saying he has not yet fully recovered from a wrist injury.