Novak Djokovic to play two exhibition events before Australian Open

Arnold Nichols
January 6, 2018

The 36-year-old went on to win the tournament, defeating her sister in the final, before taking the remainder of the year off.

Serena Williams reluctantly pulled out of this year's Australian Open on Friday, saying that while she was close to regaining full fitness after giving birth to her first child in September, she was not fully ready to defend her title.

She added: "My coach and team always said 'Only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way".

The announcement today certainly casts further doubt about Williams, a seven-time champion in Melbourne will be back to defend her title just four months after giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia.

"With that being said, and even though I am disappointed about it, I've decided not to compete in the Australian Open this year".

Williams began last year's Australian Open one week after learning she was pregnant.

"Serena transcends the sport in the way she approaches all aspects of her life and consistently gives her all in everything she does".

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 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", Tiley said.

The 12-time Grand Slam victor had a forgetful 2017 season.

"It was never going to be good enough for her to just compete".

It is another blow to a tournament which has already lost Andy Murray and can't be sure whether Novak Djokovic or Stan Wawrinka will be fit to compete.

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