Venus Williams will not be playing at this month's Australian Open, as the former world No. 1 has withdrawn from the major.
A seven-time Grand Slam champion, her Australian Open drought must carry on another year however, as Williams has yet to claim the Melbourne major.
Her announcement came via her website, VenusWilliams.com:
I regret to announce that I am withdrawing from the 2012 Australian Open. After several months of training and treatment, I am making steady progress to top competitive form...I am very close to being ready to return to WTA competition. I have every intention to return to the circuit in February.
Williams, who will turn 32 years old later this year, has not contested a tour event since last fall's US Open.
At the US Open, Williams provided a walkover to Sabine Lisicki. It was also later announced that Williams had an autoimmune disease.
In the past Williams has generally not played her best tennis at Melbourne Park. Her best performance at the event came a full nine years ago when she did manage to make the final (a match she lost to her sister Serena).
However, since 2003, Williams has not won a quarterfinal match at Melbourne Park and one could seriously question whether she ever will again.
Currently ranked 100th in the world, Williams' career appears threatened. Even if she returns "to the circuit in February," as she claims in her statement, she'll be facing a tough uphill battle working her way back through the rankings against much younger competition.