Murray to feature at Australian Open, claims tournament director

Serena Williams to make comeback at Australian Open

Serena holds the Open Era record for Grand Slams, 23, while Australia's Margaret Court holds the all-time record with 24.

This year's Australian Open final was one for the ages, with Federer defeating fellow great Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, rebounding from a break down in the fifth set to claim his 18th major title.

Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley on Tuesday announced that the top 100 men's and women's players would compete at the first Grand Slam of the year despite many having suffered injuries in 2017, reports Xinhua news agency. However, poor form and injuries hindered his performances with just the one title in Dubai and his best Grand Slam performance being a French Open semi-final exit.

The 36-year-old Serena Williams gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., on September 1 and has previously said she plans to return to playing in 2018.

"How much would this year have hurt him, to watch over the entire year Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal] share four Grand Slam titles - he would not have liked that".

Australian Open officials are hopeful Serena Williams will make her competitive comeback to tennis next January to defend her title at Melbourne Park.

Evergreen Venus Williams will headline the Sydney International in January to kick off her 2018 season, returning to the tournament after a 20-year absence.

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

"Serena will be back", Tiley said. "We look forward to welcoming her and again going on that journey of breaking the all-time record for the most number of grand slams".

"Her baby's initials are AO [Alexis Ohanian] and she's suggested she should also have her name on the 2017 trophy, so the AO is well and truly top of mind for her at the moment", Tiley said.

Additionally, Tiley confirmed the prize money for next year's tournament will rise by 10 per cent to 55 million Australian dollars (£32.5 million), with the men and women's champions earning 4 million Australian dollars (£2.3 million).

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