Former World No. 1 Serena Williams is among a long list of stars that are doubtful for the 2018 Australian Open, the first Grand Slam event of the new season. Williams is yet to take a call on her participation, per reports.
Williams was two months pregnant when she captured the 2017 Australian Open title — her 23rd Grand Slam crown. At the time, she was hopeful to return to Melbourne Park to defend her championship. After giving birth to her daughter in September, Williams is slowly returning to tennis-related activities, according to coach Patrick Mouratoglou. But Williams is reportedly taking a cautious approach back to tennis.
“Serena is getting ready for 2018. She is practising and getting back in shape. I will be joining her soon in Florida. We will see how her body is reacting and how her tennis level is and we will take a decision regarding Australia,” coach Patrick Mouratoglou told CNN.
2018 Australian Open: Kuznetsova, Azarenka also doubtful
Meanwhile, World No. 12 Svetlana Kuznetsova is also doubeful for the event after undergoing wrist surgery. The 32-year-old Kuznetsova won the 2004 US Open and 2009 French Open before injuries began taking a toll.
“I had two injuries in my wrist, so I had to do the operation. There’s a very complicated diagnosis. I’m still recovering and the doctor does not talk about specific dates when I can start training and play. Australia, most likely, I will have to miss,” Kuznetsova said recently.
Victoria Azarenka, the former World No. 1 and two-time Australian Open champion, has not played any tennis since July due to an ongoing child custody battle. Azarenka has announced her return for the ASB Classic in January but has yet to confirm her participation at the 2018 Australian Open.
“Vika is an extremely talented player. While I am excited to see her return to tennis, I encourage and respect her decision to put her family first. It is with deep regret that I have decided to move forward with my coaching career while she continues to work out her private life. I look forward to seeing her on the tour soon and wish her the best of luck,” said Michael Joyce, who recently snapped ties with Azarenka.
Besides Serena Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Victoria Azarenka, there are also doubts about the availability of former men’s World No. 1 Andy Murray. Besides Murray, the likes of Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal and Milos Raonic are also trying to work their way back from injuries. The 2018 Australian Open will be held Jan. 15-28. Roger Federer and Serena Williams prevailed during last year’s event.