Tennis star Serena Williams came back to the court just months after giving birth and lost her first encounter. Now, the ace player has pulled out of the Australian Open. The American withdrew her name from the first grand slam of the 2018 season. The grand tour starts on January 15.

The new mom says she needs “more time” after giving birth last year

The 36-year-old and winner of 23 Grand Slams said, “I don’t think I am going to rate my performance,” after losing her comeback match to opponent and French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, at the Mubadala exhibition event in Abu Dhabi on Saturday (Dec 30), NY Times reported.

The ace tennis player has given birth to a baby girl in September last year. After almost four months, the new mom returned to the tennis court in Abu Dhabi last weekend.

“After competing in Abu Dhabi, I realized that although I am super close, I’m not where I personally want to be,” Serena said, CNN reported

“My coach and team always said ‘only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way’. 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. With that being said, and even though I am disappointed about it, I’ve decided not to compete in the Australian Open this year,” she added.

Williams defeated her sister, Venus Williams, in the 2017 Australian Open last year while being already two months pregnant

“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,” added Williams. “I appreciate the support and understanding of my fans and everyone at the Australian Open.”

Williams, now ranked 22 in the world, had broken Steffi Graf’s Open Era record last January with a seventh title at Melbourne Park. The star now eyes one more grand slam title to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record.

READ: Pregnant Serena Williams Poses Nude For Vanity Fair

Also Read: When Serena Williams Handled John McEnroe’s Sexist Jibe Like A Boss

READ: Serena Williams Talks About Sexism

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