Andy Murray & Serena Williams 'Will Be Back' At Australian Open - Tournament Boss

Posted October 11, 2017

Serena Williams looks set to return to defend her Australian Open title after becoming a mother in September, according to the tournament's director.

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).

"I'm very happy to confirm that all the top players will be back in Melbourne in January", Tiley said at the tournament's launch, streamed on Twitter.

Williams' potential return to Melbourne Park would allow the American to defend the 2017 title she won while eight weeks pregnant.

The 2018 Australian Open will take place from 15 to 28 January.

Williams' stellar year saw her return to the world top five for the first time since 2011, the year she was diagnosed with strength-sapping Sjogren's Syndrome.

"I can tell you that in talking to Andy, he has been training and he is preparing for having a great year in 2018".

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"There's several months to go and obviously it will be up to her as to where she is with her fitness".

The men's and women's singles winners will each collect four million Australian dollars (£2.4m) in 2018, up from A$3.7m in 2017, while the entire prize money pool has increased by 10% to A$55m (£32.4m).

Serena holds the Open Era record for Grand Slams, 23, while Australia's Margaret Court holds the all-time record with 24.

Tiley said the winners' prizemoney had broken a barrier.

In the men's field, Tiley confirmed six-time victor Novak Djokovic and fellow former world No. 1 Andy Murray, who have both had injuries this year, would play in Melbourne 2018 along with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who contested a classic final last January. Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori return from injury.

While Nick Kyrgios will be a headline act, fellow Australian Bernard Tomic may be forced to seek a wildcard entry unless his ranking improves to about 105 in the world.

"Venus has also had an incredible year, turning back the clock to make the second week of every major this year", Tiley said.