Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Australian Open.
The 36-year-old informed tournament directors of her decision on Friday.
The announcement follows the birth of her daughter Olympia in September with the 23-time Grand Slam winner playing just one exhibition match since.
“After competing in Abu Dhabi I realised that although I am super close, I’m not where I personally want to be,” Williams said.
“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.
“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.
“I appreciate the support and understanding of my fans and everyone at the Australian Open.”
Australian Open Tournament director Craig Tiley said he understood Williams’ decision.
“The true champion Serena is has been demonstrated in the herculean efforts she has made over the past few months in her desire to play the Australian Open,” he said.
“Serena transcends the sport in the way she approaches all aspects of her life and consistently gives her all in everything she does.
“It was never going to be good enough for her to just compete, she wants to give herself the best chance to win.
“I’ve been in constant contact with Serena and her team and know this is why she has pushed it and pushed it until the eleventh hour to make her final decision.
“We all wish her the very best and I look forward to seeing her back on court this year, and can’t wait to welcome her back to the Australian Open in 2019.”