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Serena Williams withdraws from tournament

Serena Williams withdraws from tournament

Tournament director Craig Tiley said Serena Williams waited as long as she could before letting organizers know she wouldn't be able to compete.

Serena Williams: the seven-time women's champion is unable to defend her crown, saying she "needs more time" before returning competitively after having her first child last September.

Williams made her decision after losing an exhibition match last week in Avu Dhabi to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

In her announcement, Williams said that she will soon return to the Australian Open, but will first focus on her daughter.

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

"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. "I want to do far better than that and to do so, I will need a little more time".

On Thursday, Britain's Andy Murray pulled out of the tournament, which starts on 15 January.

Victoria Azarenka: the two-time champion and former world No.1 remains locked in a custody battle that is preventing her son leaving California. "She wants to give herself the best chance to win", Tiley said.

"With that being said, and even though I am disappointed about it, I've decided not to compete in the Australian Open this year".

Meanwhile, Tie Break Tens is scheduled to see the return of other injury affected stars in World No 1 Rafa Nadal and 2014 Australian Open victor Stan Wawrinka.

Latvian trailblazer Ostapenko in Paris and American Sloane Stephens at the US Open both won their first majors past year while Williams was sidelined.

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