Melbourne, Dec 8 : Former World number one Serena Williams has pulled out of the Australian Open 2022 following advice from the medical team on Wednesday.
Serena, a seven-time winner of the Australian Open, revealed that she was not fit to compete at the first Grand Slam of the upcoming season.
"While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete. I will miss seeing the fans, but am excited to return and compete at my highest level.
"Melbourne is one of my favorite cities to visit and I look forward to playing at the AO every year. I will miss seeing the fans, but am excited to return and compete at my highest level," Serena added.
Serena was a semifinalist in 2021, defeating Aryna Sabalenka and Simona Halep before falling to eventual champion Naomi Osaka. A left knee injury sidelined her until the clay season this year. The 23-time Grand Slam winner reached the fourth round of Roland Garros but has not competed since an ankle injury forced her to retire six games into her first-round Wimbledon clash with Aliaksandra Sasnovich. She is currently ranked World No.41.
On Tuesday, former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu explained her decision to quit the Australian Open on Twitter.
"Hi everyone. As you all know, the last two years have been very challenging for me for a variety of reasons," Andreescu wrote.
"Especially this year in particular, I spent multiple weeks in isolation quarantining, which affected me greatly - both mentally and physically. In addition, my grandmother spent several weeks in the ICU for a COVID infection, something that really hit me hard.
"A lot of days, I did not feel like myself, especially while I was training and/or playing matches. I felt like I was carrying the world on my shoulders. I could not detach myself from everything that was going on off the court; was feeling the collective sadness and turmoil around and it took its toll on me," she said.