Seven-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams will not play in the season-opening major in January, the tennis legend confirmed after her name was noticeably absent from the entry list.
Williams revealed via the Australian Open on Wednesday that she would be absent in Melbourne “following advice from her medical team.”
The 23-time Grand Slam champion has not played since retiring from her first-round match at Wimbledon due to a right hamstring injury. Her last Grand Slam title in singles came at the Australian Open in 2017. The 2021 Australian Open saw her beaten by Naomi Osaka in straight sets in the semifinals.
“While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete,” Williams said. “Melbourne is one of my favorite cities to visit and I look forward to playing the AO every year. I will miss seeing the fans, but am excited to return and compete at my highest level.”
Ash Barty leads the entry list as the world No. 1 looks to win the singles title in her home country for the first time. Doing so would make her the first Australian woman to win the title since Chris O’Neil in 1978.
Defending champion Osaka sits at No. 13, one spot below 2020 champion Sofia Kenin, and will look to make her return to tennis after taking a break for mental health.
As announced Tuesday, Bianca Andreescu will also miss the Australian Open to take a mental health break.
Shuai has been at the center of discussions since November.
Kanepi has now reached a quarterfinal in every Grand Slam.
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