New mum Serena Williams sets comeback date for the 2018 Australian Open

Roger Federer won the men's singles title at Melbourne Park in January

Williams won her 23rd Grand Slam title, one short of Margaret Court's all-time record of 24, at the 2017 Australian Open.

"[Williams] wants to come back in 2018 and defend her title".

Williams gave birth to a daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, last month and Australian Open organisers have declared the seven-time champion will return to Melbourne Park in January.

Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, one more than Steffi Graf for the Open-era record. "She was eight weeks pregnant when she played the Australian Open and very few people knew that".

"That ranking means a lot but also I think sometimes being able to compete means just as much", Williams said.

Serena Williams is targeting a comeback for the 2018 Australian Open despite only giving birth in September.

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

The 2018 Australian Open, the 30th Australian Open to be held in Melbourne, will be the richest in the tournament's history with the total prize pool increased 10 percent to 42 million US dollars.

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.

The British number one has been sidelined since limping out of Wimbledon with a hip injury in July and he is unlikely to play again this year. The American veteran, 37, shows no signs of slowing down and enjoyed one of her best seasons this year, making the final of Wimbledon and the Australian Open and the semis at the US Open.

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.

"I can tell you that in talking to Andy, he has been training and he is preparing for having a great year in 2018", Tiley said.

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