After giving birth to a baby girl last September and hosting a fairytale wedding in New Orleans in November, Serena Williams needs some time to adjust to her new life. On January 4, the tennis champ shared her decision to withdraw from the 2018 Australian Open, and offered a heartfelt explanation as to why.
Last year, the star athlete won her seventh Australian Open — while eight weeks pregnant, thank you very much. But, after losing to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi last week, the pro has decided to take some downtime before heading to the Melbourne competition later this month.
In a statement put out by Australian Open organizers, Williams said: "After competing in Abu Dhabi I realized that although I am super close, I'm not where I personally want to be."
She added: “My coach and team always said ‘only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way.’ I can compete — but I don't want to just compete, I want to do far better than that and to do so, I will need a little more time. With that being said, and even though I am disappointed about it, I've decided not to compete in the Australian Open this year.”
The decision did not come easily or quickly for Williams, who is only one Grand Slam title away from achieving an all-time record in wins. Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said: "I've been in constant contact with Serena and her team and know this is why she has pushed it and pushed it until the 11th hour to make her final decision."
We can't wait to see Williams back on the court whenever she's ready. And in the meantime, we know the new mom has plenty of exciting (and adorable) things on her plate.