Serena Williams Drops out of Australian Open

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After withdrawing from Abu Dhabi and Doha due to a right elbow injury, the former world No. 1 announced, through his official website, that he will play two exhibition tournaments, which will be the decisive and final test to decide whether to play Australian Open.

Williams gave birth to her first child with husband Alexis Ohanian in September, her sister Venus told ESPN's Pam Shriver.

"After competing in Abu Dhabi I realized that although I am super close, I'm not where I personally want to be", Williams said.

When Williams won last year's Australian Open she was already two months pregnant. The 36-year-old explained: "My coach and team always said "only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way".

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.

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Williams is the latest big-name player to withdraw from the year's opening grand slam, which will be played from January 15-28, with Britain's Andy Murray (hip) and Japan's Kei Nishikori (wrist) having already said they would not compete.

"We are fully aware that some players are going through a hard period with injuries and that they have done everything possible to prepare for the Australian summer", Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said while talking to The Dependent. The Serbian had earlier pulled out of Abu Dhabi exhibition and Qatar Open in Doha with elbow injury that has kept him out of action since Wimbledon a year ago.

"I can compete - but I don't want to just compete".

The 2018 Australian Open will begin on January 15.