Melbourne [Australia]: American tennis player Serena Williams is all set to make her comeback at the Australian Open, organisers confirmed.
Williams won this year’s Australian Open, while pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl in September. She has not played any competition since then, raising questions over whether the 23-time Grand Slam winner would be able to defend her title next month.
Tournament director Craig Tiley is optimistic that she would return for a crack at her seventh Melbourne Park crown.
“She’s got her visa, she’s practising and she’s probably just got to find a bit more space for a bigger entourage,” Melbourne’s Herald Sun quoted Tiley.
“There’s no question that she will 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,” Tiley added.
Tiley described the Australian Open, which will be held from January 15-28, as a “family-friendly event”.
“We’ve had this before. Roger Federer travels with his four kids. We are a family-friendly event,” he said, referring to Williams and her baby.
Earlier, the former world number one had begun her preparation by hitting the gym, which was revealed by her physical therapist, Ruben Mateu.
Mateu, however, admitted that he was not worried about Williams’ prospects, knowing the kind of a person she is.
“When someone’s muscles are so well-developed, it is easier for them to recover because muscles have a memory. It is easier to achieve results with that kind of person. The capacity for recovery will be faster for Serena than for any other sportswoman at her level,” Mateu said.
The winner of the 2018 tournament will walk away with A$4 million, up from A$3.7 million last year. The total tournament purse has risen 10 percent to A$55 million.
Williams would be aiming to defend her title and win again, which will push her Grand Slam total to an all-time record of 24 titles. (ANI)