Serena Williams exits Australian Open: 'I'm not where I want to be'

Serena Williams Drops out of Australian Open

The upcoming Australian Open women's draw won't include the defending champion.

Serena Williams will not defend her title at Melbourne Park this month after withdrawing from the Australian Open.

Williams was pregnant with her first child when she won here past year to collect her Open-era record 23rd Grand Slam singles title. She gave birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia, in September. The 23-time Grand Slam victor played her first match since giving birth at the World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi on December 30, losing her exhibition match to reigning French Open Champion Jelena Ostapenko.

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".

We're not mad at all about Serena needing and taking more time to get back into GOAT shape.

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The first Grand Slam of the year has already been hit by a spate of withdrawals, with the likes of five-time runner-up Andy Murray and Japan's Kei Nishikori pulling out on the men's side.

Serena Williams will not participate at this year's Australian Open. "I appreciate the support and understanding of my fans and everyone at the Australian Open", said the 36-year-old.

"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 11th hour to make her final decision", he said.

Several other stars, including top-ranked Rafael Nadal, six-time champion Novak Djokovic and 2014 victor Stan Wawrinka, also are dealing with injuries.

The 2018 Australian Open begins January 15 and ends January 28. A key motivation for her is to match Court, who boasts 24 major titles and is renowned as the most successful player in Grand Slam history, but this must now wait until the French Open at the earliest. The former No. 1 hasn't played an official match since winning her 23rd Grand Slam there past year beating sister Venus in the final.

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