New mum Serena Williams sets comeback date for the 2018 Australian Open

Roger Federer won the men's singles title at Melbourne Park in January

Roger Federer won the men's singles title at Melbourne Park in January

Pic: Getty ImagesAndy Murray and Serena Williams are set to play at the Australian Open in January, according to tournament director Craig Tiley.

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.

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

"I've been in contact with all the top players and am pleased to announce we'll have the full top 100 men and women returning to the Australian Open", Tiley said.

"The competitor that she is - she wants to win more than the 23 grand slam titles that she has". This year she was eight weeks pregnant when she triumphed over her sister Venus in Melbourne.

Despite Williams' past assertions, however, she's been mum lately about her intentions with tennis, preferring instead to share more parental-oriented tidbits.

Williams and the women's draw will be chasing record prize money worth $4 million, the same figure to be awarded to the men's victor. Australian Margaret Court is the all-time leader with 24. She now leads. It is in several months and, obviously, it will be to her to determine where she is physically.

"There's several months to go and obviously it will be up to her as to where she is with her fitness".

Tiley said the winners' prizemoney had broken a barrier.

"Serena will be back", Tiley said.

Williams, who gave birth to a daughter in September, will join six-time victor Novak Djokovic and former world No.1 Andy Murray on court in Australia, the tournament's director Craig Tiley said today.

Murray has been sidelined since July with a hip injury.

Australia's charge in the men's draw will be led by world No.21 Nick Kyrgios but Tiley couldn't guarantee that Bernard Tomic would get a start.

The first Grand Slam of the year in the 2018 Australian Open could be one of the most exciting events in recent memory with a host of stars confirmed to return to action.

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