'Serena will be back': Australian Open director backs Williams' return

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

"She was eight weeks pregnant when she played the Australian Open and very few people knew that". "Obviously, at training now, there is several months to go and it will be up to her as far as where she is with her fitness".

"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.

Including her seven Australian Open titles, Williams has won a total of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, more than anyone else in the Open-era and one shy to tie the record held by Australian Margaret Court, who coincidentally, won three of her titles after returning from giving birth to a son in 1973.

"I've been in contact with all the top players and am pleased to announce we'll have the full top 100 men and women returning to the Australian Open in January", Tiley said at the launch on Tuesday.

Serena Williams is aiming to make her comeback to the grand slam circuit at the 2018 Australian Open with a record $4 million purse on offer.


"It's the first time ever that both the women and the men's victor will receive $4m each - that has not been done by any other Grand Slam or any other event", says Tiley.

Tiley's announcement comes a month after Serena's coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, exclusively told Eurosport at the US Open that she was targeting her return for being in time for Melbourne. The two former number 1 of the ATP tour have confirmed their presence in Melbourne after a long period of absence.

"Roger has won five titles from the nine tournaments he's played and he can't wait to come back, step out on Rod Laver Arena again and begin his title defence".

Tiley, though, is confident that the Australian Open will welcome back some tennis heavyweights.

Meanwhile, Tiley could not guarantee wayward Australian Bernard Tomic would get a start in the men's draw. On the 50th anniversary of her Australian Open win, Billie Jean King, one of the greatest players of all time, will return to Melbourne to lead a series of celebrations and events.

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