Serena Williams out of Australian Open, saying ‘I am not where I need to be physically to compete’

Serena Williams in tears

Serena Williams’ name was the big omission when the 2022 Australian Open women’s entry list was released on Wednesday with the 23-time Grand Slam winner saying she is not physically ready to compete.

The former world No 1 has not played competitive tennis since she picked up a freak injury when she slipped during the first round of Wimbledon in June.

After being unable to compete at the US Open, there were high hopes that she would return at the season-opening Grand Slam at Melbourne Park, but it has been confirmed that the seven-time Australian Open winner won’t play.

“While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete,” the American said.

“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 Australian Open women’s draw is headlined by world No 1 and reigning Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty with defending champion Naomi Osaka, who missed several tournaments in 2021 as she opted to focus on her mental health, also expected to travel Down Under for the hard-court Grand Slam.

The other two 2021 major winners, French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova and US Open winner Emma Raducanu, are also on the entry list.