Aussie Open Hopes To Have Serena Back to Defend Title

Rachel Hardy
October 11, 2017

At a news conference Tuesday called to announce an increase in prize money for the year's first major, tournament director Craig Tiley said Williams was planning on playing the January 15-28 Australian Open.

Tiley said Williams has a "special relationship" with the Australian Open, while the player has said the initials of her daughter's name - Alexis Olympia Ohanian - are a nod to the tournament. "It's exciting to think Serena could return to defend her title after motherhood, and it's also exciting to speculate on who can break through the pack to win", Tiley added.

"I'm very happy to confirm that all the top players will be back in Melbourne in January", said Tiley, who also announced an increase in prize money at the slam, jumping to a record 55million Australian dollars. She was eight weeks pregnant when she played the Australian Open.

Serena Williams and partner Alexis Ohanian attend a gala event before the birth of her daughter in May.

The 36-year-old would be competing for a tournament record A$4 million ($3.11 million) winner's purse in 2018, with total prize money hiked 10 percent to A$55 million. Obviously, at training now, there is several months to go.

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"Serena is such a remarkable athlete there's now nearly an expectation she'll reach the final, as though it's a forgone conclusion", Tiley said.

Serena Williams is targeting a comeback for the 2018 Australian Open despite only giving birth in September.

Williams, who gave birth to a daughter in September, will join six-time victor Novak Djokovic and former world No.1 Andy Murray on court in Australia, the tournament's director Craig Tiley said today.

The five-time runner-up in Melbourne has been out injured since he exited Wimbledon with a hip injury in July having made the decision to take the remainder of the season off for his recovery. "I have been playing some really great tennis this year and I feel I'm in a strong position, both physically and mentally, in the lead up to Sydney", she said.

The women's singles trophy will be presented by Billie Jean King, 50 years after she won her first Australian Open title.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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