However, following that she stayed away from the game for the rest of the year before giving birth to a baby girl.
She has played just once in public since, losing to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi last week.
"I can compete - but I don't want to just compete". In September, Serena had revealed that she had set an "outrageous" goal of making a comeback at the Australian Open, something which will push her Grand Slam total to an all-time record-tying 24 titles. She won in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015 and 2017.
Williams' withdrawal came less than 24 hours after fellow former world No. 1 Andy Murray withdrew from the men's event with a chronic hip injury.
Williams is the latest big name to withdraw from the year's opening Grand Slam, which will be played from January 15 to January 28. The 12-time Grand Slam victor will also play the Tie Break Tens at Margaret Court Arena at Melbourne Park on January 10 in the evening, joining Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, Nick Kyrgios and Lleyton Hewitt in the field.
"The memory of last year's Open is one that I will carry with me, and Olympia and I look forward to coming back again", added Williams.
Six-time Australian Open victor Djokovic still remains highly doubtful for the Australian Open but will be travelling to Australia to compete in the Tie Break Tens at the Margaret Court Arena at Melbourne Park on January 10.
"I appreciate the support and understanding of my fans and everyone at the Australian Open". Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said: "It was never going to be good enough for her to just compete, she wants to give herself the best chance to win".