Serena Williams to make comeback at Australian Open

Roger Federer won the men's singles title at Melbourne Park in January

Roger Federer won the men's singles title at Melbourne Park in January

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

She was eight weeks pregnant when she won a record 23rd major at last January's Australian Open and after her daughter's birth she announced her initials were a nod to the tournament.

Australian Open officials are hopeful Serena Williams will make her competitive comeback to tennis next January to defend her title at Melbourne Park.

"I'm very happy to confirm that all the top players will be back in Melbourne in January", Tiley said.

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Following an announcement on what fans could expect of the 2018 tournament, he said: "Serena, the competitor that she is, she wants to win more than the 23 grand slam titles that she has".

Serena holds the Open Era record for Grand Slams, 23, while Australia's Margaret Court holds the all-time record with 24. She now leads. It is in several months and, obviously, it will be to her to determine where she is physically.

The 2018 Australian Open, the 30th Australian Open to be held in Melbourne, will be the richest in the tournament's history with the total prize pool increased 10 percent to 42 million USA dollars.

The 2018 Australian Open has been officially launched with the world's top tennis players committed to playing in the tournament.

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Tiley said the winners' prizemoney had broken a barrier.

Tiley also confirmed that Novak Djokovic, a six-time champion, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will all be back to compete in Melbourne.

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.

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

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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.

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