Serena set for Australia Open

Posted October 11, 2017

Australian Margaret Court is the all-time leader with 24.

During his absence, the Scot has dropped to number three in the world behind number one Nadal and number two Federer.

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. However, poor form and injuries hindered his performances with just the one title in Dubai and his best Grand Slam performance being a French Open semi-final exit.

Williams announced after giving birth that the initials of her daughter's name - Alexis Olympia Ohanian - were a nod to the Australian Open.

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The 35-year-old mother of one beat her sister Venus in the Melbourne final, and hopes to return to grand slam tennis in time for the Australian Open in January next year, Tiley said.

"How much would this year have hurt him, to watch over the entire year Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal] share four Grand Slam titles - he would not have liked that". She wants to come back in 2018 and defend her title.

"Bernie always tends to pick it up toward the end of the season and do well leading into the year so hopefully he will be able to do that", Tiley said.

"She wants to come back in 2018 and defend her title and she's in training now".

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"Serena is such a remarkable athlete there's now nearly an expectation she'll reach the final, as though it's a forgone conclusion", Tiley said.

Tiley, though, is confident that the Australian Open will welcome back some tennis heavyweights. "We look forward to welcoming her and again going on that journey of breaking the all-time record for the most number of grand slams".

The 2018 event, a warm-up for the Australian Open, runs from January 7-13.

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.

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