Defending champion Serena Williams withdraws from Australian Open

Serena Williams made her comeback in an exhibition match last weekend.
Serena Williams made her comeback in an exhibition match last weekend. Photo credit: Getty

Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Australian Open saying she is not quite in the right head space to compete at the highest level.

The seven-time Australian Open champion hasn't played in a WTA level tournament for 12-months after having her first child in September.

The 23-time major winner played in an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi last week, losing to Jelena Ostapenko.

Williams said she isn't ready for top level tennis just yet.

"After competing in Abu Dhabi, I realised that although I am super close, I'm not where I personally want to be," Williams said on Friday.

"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."

Newshub.