After the illustrious absences in the men's field of Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori, also another important name of the world tennis scene announces withdrawal from the Australian Open. It's Serena Williams. Just a week ago the 36-year-old American player was back on court in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for an exhibition against Latvian and Roland Garros champions, Jelena Ostapenko. Williams, who does not play an official match from the final won at the Australian Open 2017, back from motherhood and has tried a return in record time after she became mother of Alexis Olympia last September 1st.
"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 Friday. “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. With that being said, and even though I am disappointed about it, I’ve decided not to compete in the Australian Open this year”.
Winner of 23 Grand Slam titles, Serena puts another heavy blow to the Melbourne tournament. Director Craig Tiley sent a greeting message to the American tennis player who, in career, triumphed seven times at the Rod Laver Arena: "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 - Tiley said -.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".
Cases of tennis players able to triumph in a Major after motherhood are counted on the fingers of one hand: Dorothea Chambers, Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong and more recently Kim Clijsters. Only Chambers, who won at Wimbledon in 1914, was 36-years-old as Serena. The others were younger.