Just twelve days before the beginning of the Australian Open, tennis champ Serena Williams announced that she has decided not to compete in the competition. After losing the French Open, Williams soon realized that she was not where she wanted to be in order to compete to the best of her ability.
“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.”
On December 30, Serena Williams faced off against 20-year-old French Open champion, Jelena Ostapenko, in her first competitive match since giving birth. Williams’ has given birth a little girl named Alexis Olympia just four months ago.
“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.”
At the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, Williams struggled with her serve in the first match. Ostapenko took the lead at 6-2. Serena rebounded in the second, winning 3-2, however, she ended up losing in a super tiebreaker, 10-5, according to the Associated Press.
Last year, Serena was pregnant when she competed in the Australian Open. Serena revealed that she participated in the tournament for a couple of days following the discovery that she was eight weeks pregnant.
Serena won in Melbourne after she defeated her sister Venus for her 23rd Grand Slam singles title, according to the Washington Post.
“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.”
In April, Serena stated that she had been “nervous” about competing in the match.
“I really felt that I didn’t have time to deal with any extra emotions, any extra anything, because, pregnant or not, no one knew, and I was supposed to win that tournament as I am every tournament that I show up [for]. If I don’t win, it’s actually much bigger news.”
Serena decided to take the rest of 2017 off after she gave birth to her daughter. Williams’ husband, Alexis Ohanian, was right by her side as he took some time off of work as well.
Serena’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, said that it was a good decision by Serena Williams not to play the Australian Open, according to ESPN.
“It’s never an easy decision to skip a Grand Slam, I guess for any professional, and for sure for Serena… but it’s the best… The thing is, when she gave birth, things didn’t go as smooth as she expected. She had some complications—I mean, the baby was perfect, but she had some issues afterwards—and these medical issues delayed the moment that she could come back to practice.”
Craig Tiley, the Australian Open tournament director, said that Williams wanted to defend her title. Just before Christmas, the 36-year-old made the announcement that she would play in the exhibition against Ostapenko. She did tell fans that they would have to wait a bit longer to see her in a tour-level match.
“The true champion Serena is has been demonstrated in the herculean efforts she has made over the past few months in her desire to play the Australian Open.”
Serena Williams has announced that she will no longer compete in the 2018 Australian Open. https://t.co/SQajYcseWm— ELLE Magazine (US) (@ELLEmagazine) January 6, 2018
In a statement made on Thursday, Tiley said that Serena transcends the sport of Tennis in a similar way that she approaches various aspects in her life, and that is to consistently give all that she has to everything that she does.
“It was never going to be good enough for her to just compete, she wants to give herself the best chance to win. This is why she has pushed it and pushed it until the eleventh hour to make her final decision.”
Serena’s coach said that the tennis star had many changes in her life from giving birth to a child, having medical complications following childbirth, and getting married. However, Serena’s motivation is still high, so he’s not worried about the tennis champ’s return.
“I didn’t see any difference. She thinks the same way, she acts the same and for those who were wondering… I can tell that she didn’t change, when it comes to business, her tennis — she is exactly the same person. I am not worrying at all.”