The first major tournament of the 2018 tennis season begins next week when the Australian Open kicks off on January 15 in Melbourne. Sadly, 5-time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray and 7-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams announced recently that neither will be competing in the 2018 edition of the tournament.
Murray has a hip injury which has kept him sidelined since Wimbledon and although he went to Abu Dhabi for the Mubadala Exhibition tournament to test his fitness, the answers were not positive.
“Sadly I won’t be playing in Melbourne this year, as I am not yet ready to compete. I’ll be flying home shortly to assess all the options but I appreciate all the messages of support and I hope to be back playing soon.”Serena also made the trek to Abu Dhabi where she lost an exhibition match to 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko. This was her first public appearance on a tennis court in over 11 months and apparently the result convinced her that trying to defend her 2017 Australian Open title a mere 4 months after giving birth to her daughter Alexix Ohanian Junior was not in the cards.
“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.”Serena and Andy will be missed. Happily, it looks like World #2 Roger Federer and World #2 Rafael Nadal will both be competing this year, and the return of 6-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic looms large over the tournament.