Serena Williams has announced that she will no longer compete in the 2018 Australian Open. The news comes on the heels of Williams’ comeback match loss to Jelena Ostapenko at the 2017 French Open in Abu Dhabi, Williams’ first match since giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia.
“After competing in Abu Dhabi I realized that although I am super close, I’m not where I personally want to be,” Williams said in a statement. “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.”
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She continued: “With that being said, and even though I am disappointed about it, I’ve decided not to compete in the Australian Open this year. However, the memory of last year’s Open is one that I will carry with me and Olympia and I look forward to coming back again.”
Serena won the 2017 Australian Open back in January, notching a record 23 Grand Slam titles, all while pregnant with her first child. She later welcomed her daughter, Alexis Olympia, in September with husband Alexis Ohanian.
Australian Open director, Craig Tiley, commended Williams’ for her passion and determination to return to tennis.
“The true champion Serena is has been demonstrated in the herculean efforts she has made over the past few months in her desire to play the Australian Open,” he said in a statement. “Serena transcends the sport in the way she approaches all aspects of her life and consistently gives her all in everything she does. It was never going to be good enough for her to just compete, she wants to give herself the best chance to win.”