Serena Williams unwillingly pulled out of this year's Australian Open, saying that the she is close to regaining full fitness but not at the top of her game and defend her title. Murray joined Japanese star Kei Nishikori, who has been out of competitive action since last August after suffering a wrist injury during a practice session at Cincinnati and has also pulled out of the season-opening Grand Slam. The tennis star, who was eight weeks pregnant with daughter Olympia when she won her seventh Australian Open title past year, confirmed that she would not be returning to the court as she "needs more time".
The 23-time Grand Slam victor played her first match since giving birth at the World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi on December 30, losing her exhibition match to reigning French Open Champion Jelena Ostapenko.
The younger Williams sister goes on to say in a statement to media, "My coach and team always said "only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way". The Serbian had earlier pulled out of Abu Dhabi exhibition and Qatar Open in Doha with elbow injury that has kept him out of action since Wimbledon a year ago.
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She continued, "With that being said I am disappointed to say I've decided not to compete in the Australian Open this year".
"Serena transcends the sport in the way she approaches all aspects of her life".
Meanwhile, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley expressed his admiration on Serena's efforts to return to the game she likes.
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There is also uncertainty over whether former champions Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, the latter of which arrived in Melbourne earlier on Friday, will be fit to take to the court.
The 2018 Australian Open will begin on January 15.
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