Serena Williams will not contest the 2022 edition of the Australian Open, organizers revealed in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Serena Williams commented: “Following the advice of my medical team, I have decided to withdraw from this year’s Australian Open. While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete.”
The seven-time Australian Open champion further added: “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 I am excited to return and compete at my highest level.”
Williams, a 23-Grand Slam singles titlist, has not played on the WTA tour since suffering a right hamstring injury while contesting her first-round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich at Wimbledon Championships back in June.
In August, the injury forced the world No. 41 to miss the U.S. Open, the fourth major of the tennis season, which she won on six occasions at Flushing Meadows, being the latest in 2018.
The 40-yer-old joins Canadian Bianca Andreescu, 21, who earlier this week announced through Twitter her decision not to start her season in Australia to “take some additional time to reflect, train, and be ready for the upcoming 2022 tennis season.”
World No. 46 Andreescu stressed: “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.
“I want to give myself extra time to re-set, recover, and grow from this [as cliche as that sounds] and continue to inspire by doing charity work, giving back, and working on myself because I know by doing this, I will come back stronger than ever.”
Meanwhile, reigning U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu will head down to Australia to make her debut at the tournament next January.
The first Grand Slam of the 2022 season will run from 17-30 January at Melbourne Park; local favorite, world number one, Ash Barty leads the main draw entry list, also featuring defending champion Naomi Osaka.
The Japanese, currently ranked No. 13, will be seeking to achieve a fifth career major singles title in Australia.