Williams has been in full training for just a month, though, and the 23-time Grand Slam winner has decided to delay her return to the big stage until she regains her sharpness.
"After competing in Abu Dhabi I realised that, although I am super close, I'm not where I personally want to be," she said in a statement. "My coach and team always said 'only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way'.
"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, eight weeks pregnant when winning her seventh Australian Open title last year, last missed the tournament in 2011.