Serena Williams Will Not Participate in Australian Open: I'm 'Not Where I Need to Be Physically'
Serena Williams is pulling out of the 2022 Australian Open.
On Wednesday, the 40-year-old tennis star announced that she will not be participating in the Australian open — set to kick off Jan. 17 — revealing that she and her medical team believe she's not physically ready to compete.
"Following the advice of my medical team, I have decided to withdraw from this year's Australian Open," Williams said in a statement shared by the event's official Twitter account. "While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete."
"Melbourne is one of my favorite cities to visit and I look forward to playing at the AO every year. I will miss seeing the fans but am excited to return and compete at my highest level," she ended.
Though she didn't specify any physical struggles in her statement, over the summer Williams suffered an apparent leg injury at Wimbledon, withdrawing from the competition in the first-round.
During her match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich, the tennis legend slipped on the court and limped to her chair before briefly leaving the court with an injury timeout. She later returned with her right thigh taped but fell to her knees soon after the match continued.
"I was heartbroken to have to withdraw today after injuring my right leg. My love and gratitude are with the fans and the team who make being on centre court so meaningful. Feeling the extraordinary warmth and support of the crowd today when I walked on - and off - the court meant the world to me," Williams shared on Instagram at the time.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
During her last appearance at the Australian Open back in February, Williams fell to Naomi Osaka in the women's singles semifinals. After taking the opening set 6-3, Osaka, 24, achieved her twentieth consecutive win when she beat Williams 6-3, 6-4.
Ahead of the match, Williams called Osaka an "incredible opponent" during a press conference for the open. She also praised the young athlete as a "very strong player."
"I feel like she does everything well, she has a good serve, she has a great return, she's strong on both sides," Williams said at the time.