FROM AUSTRALIAN OPEN
McCarton Ackerman | January 5, 2018
Serena Williams has long been known for her perfectionist tendencies. Although she has expressed a burning desire to return to the tour, the defending Australian Open champion announced she will not compete in Melbourne this year as she takes more time to return to her Grand Slam-winning form.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion said she was encouraged by the early stages of her comeback, a narrow loss last week in Abu Dhabi during an exhibition match against reigning Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko. Despite the promising form in her first competitive match in 11 months, Williams said she will not return to the tour until she believes she’s playing at a level that will yield more major titles.
"My coach and team always said, "Only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way. ADVERTISEMENT 'I can compete, but I don't want to just compete, I want to do far better than that and to do so, I will need a little more time," said Williams in a statement. "The memory of last year's Open is one that I will carry with me, and Olympia and I look forward to coming back again."
Williams has not given an indication of when she will play her first tournament this year. However, she has made clear that her primary goal is to tie and ultimately surpass the record 24 Grand Slam singles titles of Australian Margaret Court.
“I know that when I comeback, I want to be competing for championships. I’m definitely looking forward to getting back out there,” she said after her match in Abu Dhabi. “Knowing that I have won 23 Grand Slam titles and several other titles, I don’t think I have anything more left to prove. But I am not done yet.”