Serena Williams will not be competing at the 2022 Australian Open, the tennis star announced on Wednesday, removing her name from the official entry list. The seven-time Australian Open champion withdrew due to “advice from her medical team,” stating that she won’t play in yet another grand slam tournament.
In her last appearance at a major, Serena Williams was forced to retire her match due to a right hamstring injury. She withdrew from the competition at Wimbledon in July after a first-round match against Belarussian player Aliaksandra Sasnovich, and again at the US Open in August before the tournament began. Her ranking fell out of the top 25 down to No. 41 in the world.
“While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete,” she said in an official statement shared by the tournament. “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.”
“All our love, Serena Williams,” the Australian Open captioned the statement on Twitter. “Come back stronger.”
Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu also withdrew, citing the need for time to reset, recover, and train.
Serena Williams’ late career has also been marred by weaker ankles. Her recent best placement at a major tournament came at the last Australian Open, when she lost to the No. 4 seed, Naomi Osaka. Osaka, who went on to win in 2021, will be back to defend her title after a brief hiatus. On the men’s side, Novak Djokovic will also compete to beat the title record tied by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
“I was heartbroken to have to withdraw today,” she said at Wimbledon over the Summer. “My love and gratitude are with the fans and the team who make being on centre court so meaningful. Feeling the extraordinary warmth and support of the crowd today when I walked on, and off the court meant the world to me.”
Since giving birth to her daughter, Olympia, in 2018, Serena went through prolonged postpartum depression and suffered from a pulmonary embolism that kept her bedridden for six weeks, delaying training.
“I think having a baby might help,” she told Vogue at the time. “When I’m too anxious I lose matches, and I feel like a lot of that anxiety disappeared when Olympia was born. Knowing I’ve got this beautiful baby to go home to makes me feel like I don’t have to play another match. I don’t need the money or the titles or the prestige. I want them, but I don’t need them. That’s a different feeling for me.”
Having not won a grand slam title in over five years, the 40-year-old inspiration is hoping to return in the future, but the possibility of achieving that goal gets a little harder with each passing year.
In 2017 she married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in New Orleans, with guests including Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, and Anna Wintour.
Serena Williams also recently executive produced a film on their tennis upbringing with her sister Venus Williams, titled King Richard. Out in theaters, the film stars Will Smith as their father, Richard Williams, and 15-year-old actress Saniyya Sidney as a young Serena.
Her sights are still on winning at least one more Grand Slam title in her lifetime however, which would make her tied with Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 titles. Serena Williams has appeared in four finals in recent years but has yet to take that 24th trophy home.