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Serena Williams opts out of Australian Open: ‘Not where I need to be physically’

This is the third consecutive Grand Slam tournament the 40-year-old Williams has withdrawn from due to health reasons.

Serena Williams won’t be playing in the Australian Open next month.

The 40-year-old tennis legend announced on Wednesday that she’s opting out of the Melbourne tournament for health reasons. The Australian Open is scheduled to begin on Jan. 17.

Serena Williams of the US plays Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus for the women’s singles first round match on day two of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London on June 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, file)

“Following the advice of my medical team, I have decided to withdraw from this year’s Australian Open,” Williams said in a statement shared by the Australian Open’s official Twitter account. “While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete.”

It’s been nearly five years since Williams won a tennis singles Grand Slam tournament. The 2017 Australian Open is where she took home her last major title. That was about nine months before Serena gave birth to her daughter Olympia, who turned 4 in September.

Australian Open organizers offered Williams well wishes and a virtual tip of the hat on Wednesday.

“All our love @serenawilliams, Come back stronger,” the tournament tweeted.

All our love, @serenawilliams 💙

Come back stronger 💪 #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/HrrG1FFILF

— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) December 8, 2021

Williams has struggled recently with staying healthy.

In August, she withdrew from the U.S. Open after suffering a hamstring injury, according to NBC News. In June, she bowed out of Wimbledon in the tournament’s first round. Williams was up 3-1 in the first set of her match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich when she slipped on Centre Court and called for an injury timeout, according to ESPN.

“I was heartbroken to have to withdraw today after injuring my right leg,” Williams wrote on Instagram at the time. “My love and gratitude are with the fans and the team who make being on center court so meaningful. Feeling the extraordinary warmth and support of the crowd today when I walked on – and off – the court meant the world to me.”

In addition to raising her daughter with husband and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Williams’ latest endeavors have been helping her sister Venus Williams, Will Smith and the rest of the cast of King Richard promote the new film while also working on a children’s book scheduled to hit bookstore shelves in the fall of 2022.

So far, Serena has won 23 pro tennis singles Grand Slam titles over the course of her storied career. She only needs one more Grand Slam win to tie the all-time record set by Margaret Court in 1970.

“I really play right now for Grand Slams and I love having an opportunity to even still be out here and to compete on this level,” Williams told talk show host Stephen Colbert in January. “Anytime I win a Grand Slam, it means the world to me. They are all really special.”

“Melbourne is one of my favorite cities to visit and I look forward to playing at the [Australian Open] every year,” Williams added in her statement on Wednesday. “I will miss seeing the fans, but am excited to return and compete at my highest level.”

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The post Serena Williams opts out of Australian Open: ‘Not where I need to be physically’ appeared first on TheGrio.

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