Serena targets Australian Open title defence: organisers

Serena targets Australian Open title defence: organisers

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.

The American pro won her 23rd Grand Slam title in Melbourne while she was eight weeks pregnant. "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.

New mother Serena Williams will be chasing a record $4m in prize money when she returns to defend her Australian Open crown in January.

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

The men's and women's singles winners will each collect four million Australian dollars (£2.4m) in 2018, up from A$3.7m in 2017, while the entire prize money pool has increased by 10% to A$55m (£32.4m). She now leads. It is in several months and, obviously, it will be to her to determine where she is physically.

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. "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".

Tiley said the winners' prizemoney had broken a barrier.

England fans 'should be proud' of team qualifying for 2018 World Cup
By this time , England had already qualified for the World Cup as Scotland bagged a late goal to beat Slovakia. England is favorited at 1.33, whilst Slovenia is at 12.00 for the outright win.

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

The likes of former champions Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka have also been absent with injury of late, but Tiley is expecting a star-studded cast at Melbourne Park in 2018.

Murray has been sidelined since July with a hip injury.

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

Australia's charge in the men's draw will be led by world No.21 Nick Kyrgios but Tiley couldn't guarantee that Bernard Tomic would get a start.

"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.

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