Serena Williams withdraws from Australian Open

Serena Williams withdraws from Australian Open

Tournament director Craig Tiley called Williams's efforts to try and be ready for a title defence at the Australian Open "Herculean" and said she transcended the sport.

Serena Williams has made the decision to withdrawal from the Australian open, she announced on Snapchat on Thursday.

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.

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She said: "After competing in Abu Dhabi I realised that although I am super close, I'm not where I personally want to be. I want to do far better than that and to do so, I will need a little more time".

World number one Rafael Nadal and six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic also have injury issues, having yet to play a competitive match this year. Pictured: Williams at her Ladies Final match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia on day three of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship at International Tennis Centre Zayed Sports City on December 30, 2017 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

According to the Associated Press, Williams struggled with the first round of their match and scored 6-2 in favor of Ostapenko. She has also got married at that time, but the way she played in an exhibition in Abu Dhabi last week gave real encouragement to those who so desperately wanted to see her defend her title.

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Other star players, including top-ranked Rafael Nadal, six-time champion Novak Djokovic and 2014 victor Stan Wawrinka, also are dealing with injuries.

"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.

The 12-time Grand Slam victor will also play the Tie Break Tens at Margaret Court Arena at Melbourne Park on January 10 in the evening, joining Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, Nick Kyrgios and Lleyton Hewitt in the field.

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Garbine Muguruza: the reigning Wimbledon women's champion retired from the Brisbane International with severe cramps but has since been cleared to play in Sydney next week. No. 1-ranked Simona Halep and No. 3 Caroline Wozniacki are bidding to win their first Grand Slam singles titles.