Serena Williams Withdraws from Australian Open: 'I'm Not Where I Want to Be' After Baby's Birth
This year neither Serena Williams nor 4-month-old daughter Alexis Olympia will be at the Australian Open
Twelve days before the start the tournament, the tennis star, 36, announced she has withdrawn with a statement shared on Snapchat Thursday. Williams was expected to defend her title this month.
“After performing in my first match after giving birth I realized that although I am super close I’m not where I personally want to be,” she wrote.
“My coach and team always said ‘Only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way.’ With that being said I am disappointed to say I’ve decided not to compete in The Australian Open this year,” she said.
On Dec. 30, the athlete faced off against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, 20, and was defeated in an exhibition match at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. Williams struggled with her serve in the first match, Ostapenko trumping her 6-2. She rebounded in the second, winning 3-2, but ended up losing in a super tiebreaker, 10-5, according to the Associated Press.
“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. I appreciate the support and understanding of my fans and everyone at the Australian Open,” she concluded her statement.
Back in April, Williams nearly broke the Internet with news that she and her now-husband Alexis Ohanian were expecting their first child, noting that she’s “20 weeks” along. Fans quickly did the math, and learned that she would have been about eight weeks pregnant when she won her 23rd Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open last January.
Though she lost against Ostapenko, Williams remained in good spirits.
“It’s good to be back on the court,” Williams said after the match, ESPN reported. “This was such a good time for me. First matches back are always super-incredibly hard, especially after having a baby. It was great. I was glad I could do it here.”