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Serena Williams will skip the Australian Open

Serena Williams on court
Serena Williams at Wimbledon in June.
(Kirsty Wigglesworth / Associated Press)

Seven-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams has confirmed that she will not play in the 2022 edition of the tournament next month.

The 40-year-old hasn’t played competitively since retiring from her first-round match at Wimbledon with a right hamstring injury in June, and her ranking has slipped to No. 41. She won the last of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles at the 2017 Australian Open, and was beaten in the semifinals this year by Naomi Osaka in straight sets.

The Australian Open website Wednesday said Williams would not compete in Melbourne “following advice from her medical team.”

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“While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete,” Williams told the website. “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.”

Novak Djokovic was on the men’s entry list at No. 1 in a further indication that he’ll be playing at Melbourne Park, despite Australia’s strict regulations requiring all players, officials and fans to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Djokovic has declined to comment on his vaccination status in recent months, although he was included last week on the Serbian team for the ATP Cup, which starts Jan. 1 in Sydney.

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic has tested positive for the coronavirus after an exhibition series he organized in the Balkans.

Djokovic, a nine-time Australian Open champion, is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the men’s record of 20 Grand Slam singles titles. Nadal is also entered for the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 17, but Federer is skipping the tournament as he continues his recovery from knee surgery.

Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and No. 2-ranked Daniil Medvedev, who ended Djokovic’s bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam with a victory in the U.S. Open final, are listed above No. 6 Nadal, who is not playing for Spain at the ATP Cup.

Australia’s own Ash Barty tops the women’s entry list and will continue her quest to end a long championship drought for her countrywomen at the tournament. No Australian woman has won the singles title since Chris O'Neil in 1978.


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