Serena Williams will be back to defend Australian Open title

Serena Williams and her partner Alexis Ohanian welcomed a baby daughter Alexis Olympia

Former world number one and new mum Serena Williams is targeting a return to Melbourne Park next year to defend her Australian Open title, tournament director Craig Tiley said on Tuesday.

Tiley said Williams has a "special relationship" with the Australian Open, while the player has said the initials of her daughter's name - Alexis Olympia Ohanian - are a nod to the tournament.

"She wants to come back in 2018 and defend her title", Tiley added (via the BBC).

"I'm very happy to confirm that all the top players will be back in Melbourne in January", Tiley said at the tournament's launch, streamed on Twitter.

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.

Williams was pregnant last January when she beat her sister Venus in the final.

Serena Williams has revealed she is aiming to make her comeback to grand slam tennis at the 2018 Australian Open. She now leads. It is in several months and, obviously, it will be to her to determine where she is physically. 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.

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.

Tiley said the winners' prizemoney had broken a barrier.

Tiley also announced that former World No. 1 Andy Murray will compete at Melbourne Park in the tournament, which spans from January 15-28.

While Nick Kyrgios will be a headline act, fellow Australian Bernard Tomic may be forced to seek a wildcard entry unless his ranking improves to about 105 in the world.

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

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