Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Sports | By Spencer Underwood

Serena set for Australia Open

Serena set for Australia Open

This year's Australian Open final was one for the ages, with Federer defeating fellow great Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, rebounding from a break down in the fifth set to claim his 18th major title. Serena has won the Grand Slam seven times. The Serbian ace's last appearance also came at Wimbledon after he retired injured in his quarter-final clash with Tomas Berdych.

Tournament director Craig Tiley said on Tuesday the reigning Australian Open champion was close to returning to the game after taking time out for the birth of her first daughter in September.

"Serena will be back", Tiley told reporters in Melbourne.

"On the men's side, there has been a lot of concern and conjecture around Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori".

"I've been in contact with all the top players", he said.

"As competitive as Andy is, we know he's back and he'll want to improve his current ranking of number three in the world and getting back to number one".

Serena holds the Open Era record for Grand Slams, 23, while Australia's Margaret Court holds the all-time record with 24.

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Tiley said Williams has a "special relationship" with the Australian Open, while the player has said the initials of her daughter's name - Alexis Olympia Ohanian - are a nod to the tournament.

Evergreen Venus Williams will headline the Sydney International in January to kick off her 2018 season, returning to the tournament after a 20-year absence.

Speaking after 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". She now leads. It is in several months and, obviously, it will be to her to determine where she is physically.

The pair could be joined by Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka, says Tiley.

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

Williams was pregnant in January when she defeated her sister Venus in the championship match.

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