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Ser­ena con­firms Aus­tralian Open bid

Will make re­turn to Mel­bourne for first time since win­ning in 2017 when preg­nant

- Sports · Tennis · Australian Open · Serena Williams · Rafael Nadal · US Open · United States of America · Naomi Ōsaka · Ōsaka · Roger Federer · Novak Djokovic · Poland · Margaret Court · Caroline Wozniacki · Agnieszka Radwańska

Ser­ena Wil­liams will make her re­turn to the Aus­tralian Open for the first time since win­ning in 2017 when eight-weeks preg­nant, it was con­firmed yes­ter­day, with vir­tu­ally all the world’s top 100 play­ers due at Mel­bourne Park.

That in­cludes in­jury-prone Rafael Nadal and Andy Mur­ray.

Ser­ena re­turned from giv­ing birth to her first child to reach the 2018 Wim­ble­don and US Open fi­nals, but suf­fered upset losses in both to leave her stuck on 23 ma­jor wins.

Aus­tralian Open or­gan­is­ers said she was among the en­tries for the open­ing Grand Slam of the year as she at­tempts to equal Mar­garet Court’s record of 24.

Her ap­pear­ance will mark her first ma­jor since her con­tro­ver­sial rant at an um­pire dur­ing the US Open fi­nal loss to Naomi Osaka, which over­shad­owed the Ja­panese star’s big­gest ever win.

In the af­ter­math, Roger Fed­erer said Ser­ena “went too far”. The ever­green Fed­erer will be back to de­fend his ti­tle, along with long-time ad­ver­sary No­vak Djokovic. Caro­line Woz­ni­acki de­fends the women’s crown. Or­gan­is­ers said the world’s top 102 women and top 101 men have all con­firmed they will be play­ing. The only top-100 ab­sen­tee from the women’s draw is 74th-ranked Ag­nieszka Rad­wan­ska of Poland, who re­cently an­nounced her re­tire­ment.

“It’s al­ways spe­cial to see our de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons — Caro­line had her first Grand Slam win here last year so will be keen to start 2019 on a high,” said tour­na­ment organiser Craig Ti­ley. “And of course Roger Fed­erer has spe­cial mem­o­ries of Mel­bourne, hav­ing won here six times.”

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