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'Serena will be back': Australian Open director backs Williams' return

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SerenaWilliams-cropped

Her first child's initials are the same as the first Grand Slam of the year and Williams had previously outlined her plans to defend the title they won together - despite the tournament starting just four months after she gave birth.

In 2018, both the men's and women's winners will collect a $4m cheque, up from $3.7m in 2017, while the entire prize money pool has increased by 10% to $55m.

When asked if Williams would play in Australia, Tiley told the Australian Associated Press: "Serena will be back".

Williams can match Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles if she defends her title.

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Serena Williams is aiming to make her comeback to the grand slam circuit at the 2018 Australian Open with a record $4 million purse on offer. "We have a special relationship with Serena, the Williams family, both her and Venus".

The women's singles trophy will be presented by Billie Jean King, 50 years after she won her first Australian Open title.

The tournament director for the opening Grand Slam of the season also discussed his hopes to see the main names within the men's game return to full fitness with former world No1s Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic on the sidelines through injury. She was pregnant at the time of last year's Australian Open, and still managed to win the tournament, defeating her older sister, Venus, in the final.

In the men's field Tiley confirmed six-time victor Novak Djokovic and fellow former world No.1 Andy Murray, who have both battled injury this year, would play in Melbourne 2018.

In the men's field Tiley confirmed six-time victor Novak Djokovic and fellow former world No1 Andy Murray, who have both battled injury this year, would play in Melbourne.

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