New mum Serena Williams sets comeback date for the 2018 Australian Open
11 October, 2017, 00:28 | Author: Joan Malone
Murray started the year as the world number one for the first time.
Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley on Tuesday announced that the top 100 men's and women's players would compete at the first Grand Slam of the year despite many having suffered injuries in 2017, reports Xinhua news agency.
The 35-year-old discovered she was expecting shortly before the 2017 Australian Open in January but went on to win the tournament without dropping a set, beating her sister Venus in the Melbourne final 6-4 6-4.
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. "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. It's exciting to think Serena could return to defend her title after motherhood, and it's also exciting to speculate on who can break through the pack to win", Tiley added.
Venus is in career-best form, achieving her highest ranking since January 2011 after she finished runner-up to Serena at both Wimbledon and the Australian Open.
"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 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.
Tennis fans might have extra reason to tune into the Australian Open next year.
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