Defending champion Serena Williams will not be playing at the Australian Open later this month.
The former world number one had been expected to return to Melbourne, having entered the competition and secured a visa, but announced her decision on Friday.
Williams, who has won the Australian Open seven times, did not compete in much of 2017 due to a knee injury and pregnancy. She gave birth to her daughter just over four months ago on September 1.
“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,” Williams reportedly posted on her Snapchat.
“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.”
Williams returned to the court last week in Abu Dhabi, playing an exhibition match against French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko, but lost in three sets.
At the time, Williams was asked if she would play at the Australian Open.
“I don’t know,” Williams said. “I’m taking it one day at a time. I’m going to assess everything with… my team before deciding.”
The twenty-three time grand slam champion recently turned down a wild card to play at an upcoming WTA event in Sydney to focus on the Australian Open, according to Sydney International tournament director Lawrence Robertson.
2017 was a big year for Williams. Not only did she give birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, she also married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
Before meeting Williams, Ohanian had never seen a tennis game.
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