Venus Williams has pulled out of the Australian Open due to health reasons.

31900 - Venus Williams out of Australian Open

The seven-time Grand Slam title winner has not played a competitive match since pulling out of the US Open last August and although she is making progress, she is not in the right condition to take part in the opening major of the year.

"I regret to announce that I am withdrawing from the 2012 Australian Open," Williams wrote on her official website. "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."

Williams was diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease that can cause fatigue and joint pain.