Serena set for Australia Open

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"Serena [Williams] will be back", tournament director Craig Tiley announced Tuesday at a news conference in Melbourne (via the Associated Press).

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.

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

"I'm very happy to confirm that all the top players will be back in Melbourne in January", Tiley said at the tournament's launch.

"Serena, the competitor that she is, she wants to win more than the 23 Grand Slam titles that she has", Tiley revealed.

"Serena is a truly remarkable athlete and she's hasn't ruled out a return to the Australian Open".

If that's in Melbourne, she'll be competing for more money. "I have been playing some really great tennis this year and I feel I'm in a strong position, both physically and mentally, in the lead up to Sydney", she said.

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The 2018 Open will offer record prizemoney of $55 million, with the men's and women's winners each to pocket a record $4 million.

Even during her pregnancy, Williams remained active, training on the court as often as possible with the idea of returning to the Australian Open in 2018.

"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.

The first Grand Slam of the year in the 2018 Australian Open could be one of the most exciting events in recent memory with a host of stars confirmed to return to action.

Williams, who gave birth to a daughter in September, will join six-time victor Novak Djokovic and former world No.1 Andy Murray on court in Australia, the tournament's director Craig Tiley said today.

Tiley said that watching Federer and Nadal share four Grand Slam titles this year would have been painful for the Scot. Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori return from injury.

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