Aussie Open Hopes To Have Serena Back to Defend Title

Tricia Pearson
October 12, 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. "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".

Williams, 36, defeated her sister Venus in the final of this year's Australian Open before it later emerged she had been pregnant during the tournament.

Her first child's initials are the same as the first Grand Slam of the year and Williams had previously outlined her plans to defend the title they won together - despite the tournament starting just four months after she gave birth.

The tournament's overall prize pool will increase be 55 million Australian dollars ($42.7 million), and the men's and women's singles champions will earn $A4 million (about $3.1 million depending on exchange rates), an increase of 20 percent.

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

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Tiley also announced that former World No. 1 Andy Murray will compete at Melbourne Park in the tournament, which spans from January 15-28.

The tournament director for the opening Grand Slam of the season also discussed his hopes to see the main names within the men's game return to full fitness with former world No1s Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic on the sidelines through injury. "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.

Even during her pregnancy, Williams remained active, training on the court as often as possible with the idea of returning to the Australian Open in 2018.

"As competitive as Andy is, we know he's back and he'll want to improve his current ranking of number three in the world and getting back to number one".

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