Reigning champion Serena Williams pulls out of Australian Open

Reigning champion Serena Williams pulls out of Australian Open

Reigning champion Serena Williams has withdrawn from this month's Australian Open in Melbourne. Murray joined Japanese star Kei Nishikori, who has been out of competitive action since last August after suffering a wrist injury during a practice session at Cincinnati and has also pulled out of the season-opening Grand Slam.

"My coach and team always said "only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way", Xinhua news agency quoted Williams as saying.

"After competing in Abu Dhabi I realised that although I am super close, I'm not where I personally want to be", Williams added.

Organisers of the first Grand Slam tournament of the year have announced that those players that are injured and want to withdraw from the Australian Open can compete by playing as their virtual versions on PlayStarion or Xbox games. She's decided that she isn't ready to perform at a professional level after giving birth in September.

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"Serena transcends the sport in the way she approaches all aspects of her life". Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said: "It was never going to be good enough for her to just compete, she wants to give herself the best chance to win".

She has played just once in public since, losing to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi last week, but was still hopeful of making a remarkable return at the Australian Open until she admitted defeat a week ahead of the event.

The 2018 Australian Open will begin on January 15.

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