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Serena Williams will not play in January’s season-opening major, the 2022 Australian Open, the tennis superstar confirmed on Wednesday.
“While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete,” Williams 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.”
Williams, 40, was absent from from the entry list released on Tuesday, indicating she would not be playing. She hasn’t played since bowing out of her first-round match at Wimbledon on June 29 against Aliaksandra Sasnovich because of injury. In August, a leg injury forced Williams to withdraw from the 2021 US Open.
Williams dropped to No. 41 in the WTA rankings after withdrawing. While Williams has 23 major championships, second all-time, she’s four years removed from her last major victory. That came in the 2017 Australian open, a 6-4, 6-4 victory over sister Venus Williams.
Per FanDuel Sportsbook, Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka are co-favorites at +500 to win the 2022 Australian Open. Barty is the WTA’s No. 1 ranked player in the world, while Osaka is No. 13. Osaka is the reigning champion, defeating Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3 in 2021.
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