Sunday, 17 December, 2017

Serena Williams will be back to defend Australian Open title

SerenaWilliams-cropped Reigning Australian Open champion Serena Williams
Angelica Greene | 12 October, 2017, 00:46

Williams has long favored the Aussie Open, even insinuating her daughter's name, Alexis Olympia, whom she shares with fiance, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, is an ode to the Melbourne-based tournament.

"She wants to come back in 2018 and defend her title".

If that's in Melbourne, she'll be competing for more money. She was pregnant at the time of last year's Australian Open, and still managed to win the tournament, defeating her older sister, Venus, in the final.

"I don't think my story is over yet", she told Vanity Fair over the summer, when she first indicated that she wanted to come back in January. The 36-year-old Serena Williams gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., on September 1 and has previously said she plans to return to playing in 2018.

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

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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.

"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.

And Australian Open organisers confirmed she is still pushing to return to the WTA Tour in Melbourne Park.

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. 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.

Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, one more than Steffi Graf for the Open-era record.

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