Serena Williams will finally make her Australian Open return in 2019 while Andy Murray will also play having missed this year’s edition due to injury.
Shortly after winning her seventh Australian Open in 2017, Williams announced she was pregnant and then missed the remainder of the tennis season as she gave birth to her daughter in September that year.
After initially indicating that she would return in 2018, the 23-time Grand Slam winner withdrew shortly before the start of the tournament, citing she was not yet ready to make her comeback.
However, tournament organiser Craig Tiley has confirmed she will be back at Melbourne Park in January 2019.
“Serena Williams, currently ranked 16, will make her highly anticipated return to Melbourne for the first time since winning in 2017 when eight-weeks pregnant with baby Alexis Olympia,” he said.
Murray, meanwhile, has entered the hard-court Grand Slam using his protected ranking of No 2.
The three-time Grand Slam winner was another last-minute withdrawal from last year’s event as he underwent hip surgery and subsequently missed the first half of the season.
Roger Federer is the defending men’s champion while Caroline Wozniacki won her maiden Grand Slam at last year’s tournament Down Under.
“It’s always special to see our defending champions – Caroline had her first Grand Slam win here last year so will be keen to start 2019 on a high,” Tiley said.
“And of course Roger Federer has special memories of Melbourne, having won here six times, something only Novak (Djokovic) and Roy Emerson have done in the past.”
However, Djokovic is likely to be the man to beat as he finished the year as No 1 on the back of winning Wimbledon and the US Open.
“After an incredible end-of-season run this year Novak will be full of confidence. He’s a fan favourite here and loves the conditions in Melbourne,” Tiley added.
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