Defending champion, Serena Williams, reluctantly withdraws from this years’ Australian Open set to begin in just over a week. This comes just a few days after 3-time grand slam winner, Andy Murray, pulled the pin on his Australian Open hopes due to injury.
Williams explains that she doesn’t feel as though she is ready to perform at her high levels at the major grand slam. After giving birth to her just daughter just 4 months ago, fans will have to wait a bit longer for her comeback.
The Williams team made their decision to pull out after her loss to Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi during an exhibition match. Williams says that she is close to her best but not exactly where she wants to be. She wants to be bigger and better than before, and that will take a bit more time.
She is disappointed that she will not compete in the Australian Open, and she is thankful of the understanding and support given by her fans, other players and the organisers of the Australian Open.
Craig Tiley, the Australian Open director, voiced his respect for Williams and her hard work and determination to attempt to make the grand slam after having a child only 4 months ago. Tiley looks forward to having Williams back at her best for the 2019 Australian Open.
Last year Serena Williams was at the top of her game, winning the 2017 Australian Open against her sister, Venus Williams. It was later revealing that she was playing in the tournament while more than 2 months pregnant.
Another major withdrawal from the Australian Open includes that of Japanese star Kei Nishikori, who has been ruled out due to injury. Nishikori’s recent wrist injury has meant that he is not 100% and couldn’t last the wear and tear of a 5-set match.
There are also injury clouds surrounding other major names in the men’s draw including Stan Wawrinka, Rafael Nadel and Novak Djokovic. With so many big players out and potentially out of the Australian Open it will be interesting to see if a new player can rise and emerge as a force to be reckoned with in the world of tennis.
Despite a major shake up to the men’s draw, Roger Federer is still looking in fine form. Any potential young gun looking to take out the men’s championship will certainly need to be playing at their best to stand a chance against the Fed Express! Maybe it will be time for young Aussie Nick Kyrgios to make a major mark in the Australian Open?