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Serena Williams Withdraws From Australian Open

Serena Williams of the United States reacts after losing against Naomi Osaka of Japan in the Women’s singles semifinals match on Day 11 of the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia, 18 February 2021. EPA-EFE/DEAN LEWINS

Serena Williams won’t play for history in Melbourne.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion has withdrawn from the 2022 Australian Open on advice of her medical team.

Williams’ withdrawal means she won’t match Margaret Court’s all-time Grand Slam record of 24 major titles in Melbourne.

The seven-time Australian Open champion has not played a match since retiring from her Wimbledon opener after suffering a torn hamstring against Aliaksandra Sasnovich last July. Williams registered a 12-5 record in 2021, reaching the Roland Garros fourth round and Australian Open semifinals.

While Williams did not disclose a date for her return, she said she’s “excited to return and compete at my highest level.”

“While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete,” Williams said in a statement. “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.”

The 40-year-old Serena is the second Grand Slam champion to pull out of the AO in as many days. Serena Williams joins 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, who withdrew from Melbourne earlier this week saying she needs time to rest and recover following a physically and emotionally draining 2021 season.