Former world No.1 Venus Williams has confirmed she will not take part in the Australian Open for health reasons.
Williams has not played a competitive match since pulling out of the US Open in August after being diagnosed with auto-immune disease Sjorgen’s Syndrome.
But the 31-year-old, who was a finalist at the Australian Open in 2003, is confident she will return to action in February.
“I regret to announce that I am withdrawing from the 2012 Australian Open,” Williams said. “After several months of training and treatment, I am making steady progress to top competitive form.
“My diet and fitness regimen have allowed me to make great strides in terms of my health and I am very close to being ready to return to WTA competition.
“I have every intention to return to the circuit in February.”