Serena Williams is set to return to competitive tennis earlier than expected. According to Australian Open director Craig Tiley, Williams will “very likely” compete at the tournament and try to defend the title. Williams won 2017 Australian Open while being pregnant and didn’t compete since. She gave birth to a baby girl in September.
“She’s got her visa, she’s entered, she’s practicing and she’s probably just got to find a bit more space for a bigger entourage.” – said Tiley while speaking with the Herald Sun. “There’s no question that she’ll be ready in our view and she wants to break a record that is Margaret Court’s. It would be a pretty significant accomplishment for her to be able to do that.“
Serena Williams currently has 23 Grand Slam titles in her career, with 7 of them coming at Australian Open. Australia native Margaret Court, on the other hand, has 24.
Although Tiley seems to be confident about Williams participating at Australian Open, her coach Patrick Mouratoglou said that the decision wasn’t made and that Serena will make up her mind after her upcoming training session in Florida.
In case that Serena doesn’t come back in time for Australian Open, she will likely compete at Indian Wells or Miami, with both tournaments taking place in March.
The 2018 Australian Open will take place at 15-28 January 2018 and will be the 106th edition of the tournament. The tournament’s wildcard playoff will start on Monday, giving the players outside the top 100 to win a chance to compete in the tournament.