Defending champion Serena Williams withdraws from Australian Open

Dean Simpson
January 5, 2018

However, the memory of last year's Open is one that I will carry with me and Olympia and I look forward to coming back again.

Williams is the latest big-name player to withdraw from the year's opening grand slam, which will be played from January 15-28, with Britain's Andy Murray (hip) and Japan's Kei Nishikori (wrist) having already said they would not compete.

The 36-year-old has already won the Australian Open seven times. She lost to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko last week.

There is also uncertainty over whether former champions Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Rafa Nadal, the latter of which arrived in Melbourne earlier on Friday, will be fit to take to the court.

Williams a year ago beat older sister Venus in the final. Meanwhile, Tie Break Tens is scheduled to see the return of other injury affected stars in World No 1 Rafa Nadal and 2014 Australian Open victor Stan Wawrinka.

"I can compete - but I don't want to just compete. I appreciate the support and understanding of my fans and everyone at the Australian Open".

Tournament director Craig Tiley called Williams' efforts to try and be ready for a title defence at the Australian Open "Herculean" and said she transcended the sport. No. 1-ranked Simona Halep and No. 3 Caroline Wozniacki are bidding to win their first Grand Slam singles titles.

Serena will lose the 2,000 points earned winning last year's final over her sister Venus, which means she won't have any WTA ranking point by January 29.

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