Not 'personally' ready to return to tournament tennis yet — Serena Williams

"My coach and team always said 'only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way'".

After a pre-season in Monte Carlo with some players like Grigor Dimitrov - currently ranked 3rd, Viktor Troicki, ranked 55th, and Stan Wawrinka, ranked 9th, the season for Djokovic was supposed to start at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.

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

Djokovic, a 12-time Grand Slam champion, has not played since being forced to retire against Tomas Berdych in the Wimbledon quarter-finals back in July after experiencing pain in his elbow. "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", Williams said in a statement.

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The 36-year-old, who won last year's trophy while eight months pregnant, has played just one match since the birth of daughter Alexis Olympia.

Tournament director Craig Tiley called Williams' efforts to try and be ready for a title defence at the Australian Open "Herculean" and said she transcended the sport.

Former world No. 1 Novak Djokovic will travel to Australia to test his long-standing elbow injury before deciding whether or not to play in the Australian Open.

Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are also in doubt for the first grand slam of 2018 after withdrawing from the Brisbane International due to knee and hip issues respectively.

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Serena will sit one out but is promising to return in the future.

"I've been in constant contact with Serena and her team and know this is why she has pushed it and pushed it until the eleventh hour to make her final decision".

"It was never going to be good enough for her to just compete, she wants to give herself the best chance to win".

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