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“I’ve decided not to compete in the Australian Open this year” – Serena Williams

NAN

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Serena Williams

Serena Williams reluctantly pulled out of this year’s Australian Open on Friday, saying she needed more time to be ready to defend her title.

She said while she was close to regaining full fitness after giving birth to her first child in September, she was not fully ready to defend her title.

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.

The American then took the rest of the year off before giving birth to a daughter.

She has played just once in public since, losing to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi last week.

But she was still hopeful of making a remarkable return at the Australian Open until she pulled out a week ahead of the event.

“My coach and team always said ‘only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way’.

“I can compete – but I don’t want to just compete, I want to do far better than that and to do so, I will need a little more time,” Williams said in a statement.

 

Williams, whose Grand Slam tally is just one shy of the all-time record held by Australian Margaret Court, said she was disappointed to withdraw but looked forward to returning in the future.

“After competing in Abu Dhabi I realised that although I am super close, I‘m not where I personally want to be,” Williams 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.”

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.

“It was never going to be good enough for her to just compete, she wants to give herself the best chance to win,” Tiley said.

“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.”

Williams is the latest big name to withdraw from the year’s opening Grand Slam, which will be played from January 15 to January 28.

Britain’s Andy Murray (hip) and Japan’s Kei Nishikori (wrist) having already said they would not compete.

There is also uncertainty over whether former champions Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Rafa Nadal, the latter of which arrived in Melbourne earlier on Friday, will be fit to take to the court.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in May 1976 to gather and distribute news on Nigeria and cover events of interest to Nigeria at the international level for the benefit of the Nigerian Media and the Public.

4 Comments

  1. Rossypetite

    January 5, 2018 at 10:03 am

    wise decision Serena. love and respect you always girl

  2. onyx

    January 5, 2018 at 10:12 am

    Even though i’m bummed she wont be playing. It’s the best decision. She’s just not ready to compete yet. Girl, you have nothing to prove. Enjoy your family and health! See you at the French Open.

  3. tunmi

    January 5, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    Take your time darling!!! We will be here when you are ready.

  4. Bitte

    January 6, 2018 at 5:27 am

    Nne no be gara gara..you have nothing to prove(you are already the GOAT).Take your time and bounce back in a big way….

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