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Aussie officials expecting Serena Williams to defend title

12 October 2017
Aussie officials expecting Serena Williams to defend title

Williams was pregnant in January when she defeated her sister Venus in the championship match.

Tiley said Williams was back in training to defend her title.

"Serena is a truly remarkable athlete and she's hasn't ruled out a return to the Australian Open", Tiley said.

Despite Williams' past assertions, however, she's been mum lately about her intentions with tennis, preferring instead to share more parental-oriented tidbits.

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

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.

She has a special bond with the Melbourne Park event and her daughter's name Alexis Olympia Ohanian are a nod to the event. She now leads. It is in several months and, obviously, it will be to her to determine where she is physically.

Tiley announced that the overall prize money of the tournament will increase by about 10 percent, to $55 million Australian dollars, about 42.7 million American dollars, with the men's and singles champions to earn about $3.1 million, an increase of about 20 percent.

"We're proud of the fact she's gone around the world, she's told that her baby's AO - Australian Open, Alexis Ohanian", Tiley added.

"On the men's side, there has been a lot of concern and conjecture around Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori". Both players have been hit by injuries this year and will have watched on as Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal shared four slam victories between them.

In the men's field Tiley confirmed six-time victor Novak Djokovic and fellow former world No.1 Andy Murray, who have both battled injury this year, would play in Melbourne 2018.