Tennis star Serena Williams watches a game between the Miami Heat and the Charlotte Bobcats at American Airlines Arena on November 19, 2010 in Miami, Florida.
From Tennis Australia:
Serena Williams today confirmed she has withdrawn from Australian Open 2011.
“As I continue to rehabilitate my foot after the second surgery last month, it is with the utmost regret that I am withdrawing from the Hopman Cup and the 2011 Australian Open Championships,” Serena Williams said today.
“As I recently learned, pushing myself back into my intense training too early only caused me further injury and damage.
“While I desperately want to be back on the court and competing in the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, it is imperative for my health that I continue to work with my doctors to ensure my foot heals properly.
“This decision, though heavy on my heart, is the right one. I am praying for a healthy recovery and I promise my Aussie fans and my fans around the world that I will be back better than ever as soon as I can be.”
Williams has been in regular contact with Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley and made her decision after receiving further medical advice.
“I know how disappointing it will be for Serena that she’s unable to come back and defend her title at Australian Open 2011. We all know how much she enjoys playing here, and how much she loves her Aussie fans,” Tiley said.
“Serena is a great champion and we will miss her in January. We send her our very best wishes for a speedy recovery and look forward to welcoming her back to Australia soon.”
What a blow for the first Slam of the year to be without one of its defending champions.
Truth be told, this fan has lost almost all interest in women's tennis. Serena's comeback is about the only thing on the WTA that I look forward to. Sure, she's my girl, so this comes as no surprise to many of you. But tell me who's holding down the fort right now? Maybe I've missed something exciting in my absence.
Far too early to prognosticate about who'll be in form to take the title Serena has held for two years now and won five times. But Melbourne won't be quite the same.