Williams needs more time to recover

Updated: January 10, 2004, 12:56 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

WASHINGTON -- Serena Williams pulled out of the Australian Open on Friday, delaying her comeback from a knee injury.

 Serena Williams
Williams

Williams hasn't played since beating sister Venus in the Wimbledon final in July. She was hoping to return this month to defend her title at the Australian Open.

"After conferring with my trainers and coaches, we really don't think that I've had sufficient time to prepare and train for it," Williams said in a statement.

"My knee feels great, but my rehabilitation took a little longer than I expected. I'm on the courts daily, and look forward to coming back in championship form."

Williams, who won five of six Grand Slam tournaments before her injury, had surgery Aug. 1 to repair a partial tear in the quadriceps tendon of her left knee. She fell from No. 1 after the injury and entered this year ranked third.

Williams made history at last year by completing her "Serena Slam" in Melbourne. She became only the fifth woman to win four majors in a row.

She reached the semifinals of the French Open and won the title at Wimbledon before undergoing the surgery.

Although she has not played since the surgery, Williams has been actively pursuing her acting and design careers this fall. But the Williams family also has been distracted since suffering the loss of sister Yetunde Price, who was shot to death in September.

After being unable to play following the aggravation of an injury at Wimbledon, Venus Williams appears ready to attempt to win the Australian Open for the first time ever as she has advanced to the final of a warm-up event in Hong Kong.

The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam event of the season, begins on Jan. 18.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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