Cape Town - Serena Williams’ coach has backed her decision to miss the
Australian Open after admitting she wasn’t yet ready to compete.
Williams announced on Friday that she would not be defending
her title in Melbourne after realising she wasn’t up to speed physically in an
exhibition encounter in Abu Dhabi last week.
The 36-year-old only gave birth to a baby girl in September
and was unable to practice for two months afterwards due to medical reasons.
Her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, says that left Williams with
insufficient time to prepare for the Australian Open, with the 23-time Grand
Slam champion expected to compete at Indian Wells and Miami, in March.
"It's never an easy decision to skip a Grand Slam, I
guess for any professional, and for sure for Serena," Mouratoglou told
"But I would rather say it is a wise decision. It's not
an easy decision, but it's the best, wise one.
"The thing is, when she gave birth, things didn't go as
smooth as she expected.
“She had some complications - I mean, the baby was perfect,
but she had some issues afterwards -- and these medical issues delayed the
moment that she could come back to practice.
"I could see that those two months were missing. Those
two months she could not practice after giving birth. So, I knew she was late,
but with her, you never know, so we did the job, and then her idea was to do
one match and see exactly where she was.
"It is better to take a bit more time, and when you
come back to the competition, you are ready to be yourself - win or lose is
another thing - but at least be yourself and be at the top of what you can