Somewhat surprisingly, one of the greatest women to ever handle a tennis racket professionally, Serena Williams has pulled out of the Australian Open this year.
The Australian Open which is the traditional curtain raiser on all Grand Slam tournaments is slated to begin on January 15.
Serena Williams had originally publicly revealed that she would be making a return to tennis at the Australian Open after originally announcing a hiatus from tennis in April 2017 due to her pregnancy.
Credited with ushering in a new age of athleticism and power into the game, Serena Williams who has twenty-four Grand Slam titles to her name would miss out on the chance of eclipsing Margaret Court who also has twenty-four Grand Slam titles to her name.
Incidentally, the last tournament Serena Williams won was the Australian Open which she won while she was eight weeks pregnant with her daughter Olympia.
Since going on an extended hiatus away from the game Serena Williams has certainly been very busy.
On September 13, the tennis ace revealed she and her partner Alexis Ohanian had given birth to a baby girl and named her Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.
She gave birth to a baby girl that day after clearing an entire hospital floor in order to welcome her first child in total privacy.
That wasn’t all as a few short months after giving birth to baby Olympia, the tennis ace married her fiancé Alexis Ohanian on Thursday, November 16 at a star-studded ceremony in New Orleans.
Coupled with the physical toll of giving birth and the sense of relaxation that comes with the first few months of being married, Serena Williams can be forgiven for not returning to the game on schedule.
Williams’ withdrawal adds to a growing list of established stars whose participation in the tournament is either shaky or impossible.
American star Andy Murray pulled out of the tournament to return to the United Kingdom to seek medical help on his injured right hip.
Kei Nishikori also withdrew this week, and there are lingering doubts over Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, and Rafael Nadal.
Serena Williams later revealed in a public statement that she was pulling out because she felt her preparations had fallen just short of what she needed to be competitive.
‘After competing in Abu Dhabi I realized that, although I am super close, I’m not where I personally want to be’.
She further continued,
‘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. Even though I am disappointed with it, I’ve decided not to compete in the Australian Open this year’.
The superstar didn’t finish her statement without paying tribute to last year’s tournament which she won while pregnant with Alexis Olympia Jr.
‘The memory of last year’s Open is one that I will carry with me, and Olympia [her daughter] and I look forward to coming back again. I appreciate the support and understanding of my fans and everyone at the Australian Open’.
The tournament director Craig Tiley, who is nervously waiting on confirmation of a start from Victoria Azarenka, said,
‘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’.
Due respect to other players but the Australian Open just lost some of its glow with the absence of Serena Williams.