Serena targets Australian Open title defence: organisers

Serena targets Australian Open title defence: organisers

Meanwhile, American Wiliams, who gave birth to a daughter in September, will return to defender her title in the New Year.

The 23-time grand slam singles champion and her fiance Alexis Ohanian named their daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, with Williams previously tweeting: "Fun fact my daughters initials are AO as in the Aussie open she won with me @AustralianOpen".

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

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

Including her seven Australian Open titles, Williams has won a total of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, more than anyone else in the Open-era and one shy to tie the record held by Australian Margaret Court, who coincidentally, won three of her titles after returning from giving birth to a son in 1973. She was eight weeks pregnant when she played the Australian Open.

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

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Tiley also announced the 2018 Australian Open would offer a record $55 million in prizemoney with the men's and women's singles victor to pocket $4 million each. "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.

Tiley said Williams was back in training to defend her title.

In the men's field Tiley confirmed six-time victor Novak Djokovic and fellow former world No1 Andy Murray, who have both battled injury this year, would play in Melbourne. "We look forward to welcoming her and again go on that journey of breaking the all-time record for the most number of grand slams".

The women's trophy will be presented by USA great Billie Jean King, 50 years after she won her first Australian Open title.

Tiley said that watching Federer and Nadal share four Grand Slam titles this year would have been painful for the Scot.

"Venus has also had an incredible year, turning back the clock to make the second week of every major this year", Tiley said.

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