Aussie officials expecting Serena Williams to defend title

Aussie officials expecting Serena Williams to defend title

Aussie officials expecting Serena Williams to defend title

SERENA WILLIAMS might be making her comeback at the Australian Open, in a bid to defend her title, claims tournament's director Craig Tiley.

The tournament means so much to her - this year's victory gave her a record 23rd grand slam singles titles - she named her daughter Alexis Olympia (initials AO). "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.

Serena Williams may add her first post-baby Grand Slam title to her collection at the Australian Open in January.

Including her seven Australian Open titles, Williams has won a total of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, more than anyone else in the Open-era and one shy to tie the record held by Australian Margaret Court, who coincidentally, won three of her titles after returning from giving birth to a son in 1973.

The 2018 event, a warm-up for the Australian Open, runs from January 7-13.

In 2018, both the men's and women's winners will collect a $4m cheque, up from $3.7m in 2017, while the entire prize money pool has increased by 10% to $55m. "We look forward to welcoming her and again go on that journey of breaking the all-time record for the most number of grand slams".

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Serena's sister Venus, the world No5, will make an appearance at the Sydney International in preparation for the Australian Open, 20 years after the 37-year-old last featured in Sydney.

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.

Tomic, who has plummeted to 144 in the rankings, will likely need to play qualifying unless Tennis Australia offer the struggling star a wildcard.

"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.

"Bernie always tends to pick it up toward the end of the season and do well leading into the year so hopefully he will be able to do that", Tiley said.

Tiley's announcement comes a month after Serena's coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, exclusively told Eurosport at the US Open that she was targeting her return for being in time for Melbourne.

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