Serena Williams will be ready to make her tennis comeback at the Australian Open with her return to Melbourne for the season’s opening Grand Slam “very likely”, organisers said on Wednesday.
Williams, 36, won this year’s Australian Open while pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl in September. She has not played a competition since, raising questions over whether the 23-time Grand Slam winner would attempt to defend her title next month.
But tournament director Craig Tiley is optimistic she will return for a crack at her seventh Melbourne Park crown after marrying Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian last month. Williams is yet to confirm the exact date of her comeback.
“She’s got her visa, she’s entered, she’s practising and she’s probably just got to find a bit more space for a bigger entourage,” Melbourne’s Herald Sun quoted him as saying.
“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.”
Australian Court has 24 major titles, making her the most successful player in Grand Slam history.
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 and we are a family-friendly event,” he said, referring to Williams and her baby.
The winner of the 2018 tournament will walk away with Aus$4.0 million (US$3.0 million), up from Aus$3.7 million last year. The total tournament purse has risen 10 percent to Aus$55 million.
Tennis fans were in seventh heaven as Roger Federer and Serena Williams clinched the Australian Open titles.
What’s more, it was a set of dream finals with Federer overpowering Nadal and Serena defeating sister Venus.
All those memories of previous years came rushing back. And here we bring you the top tweets from what was a memorable week.
Congrats to Serena and Venus for an amazing tournament. 23 is unfathomable.. Serena = 🐐— John Isner (@JohnIsner) January 28, 2017
Congrats Serena-Venus, Roger and Rafa. What a way to start the Tennis year, can't wait to see what else unfolds this year #exciting #23 #18— Tommy Haas (@TommyHaas13) January 29, 2017
This is nuts— Thanasi Kokkinakis (@TKokkinakis) January 29, 2017
Wow. What. A. Match.— ivo karlovic (@ivokarlovic) January 29, 2017
— Marion bartoli (@bartoli_marion) January 29, 2017
— Amer Delic (@AmerDelic) January 29, 2017
Roger Federer's wife, Mirka, has been ever-present in the stands throughout the Swiss legend's career, and this year's Australian Open was no different. A former tennis player herself, Mrs. Federer lives every point her husband plays, with tension, and joy etched across her face at varying moments.
When the review of Rafael Nadal's challenge of the final shot of the Australian Open final came in, confirming that Federer had hit one last pristine winner to claim the title, Mirka let out a roar just as her husband did on the court.
Federer soon found his way to his wife in order to celebrate his 18th Grand Slam title, one that both may have occasionally doubted would ever come.
Soon after, when the trophy presentations were done, Roger and Mirka were able to meet properly, as the champion walked back towards the waiting rooms to be greeted by his entire team. The two shared a hug and a kiss in a special moment for the couple, celebrating one of the greatest achievements of Federer's glorious career.