World's best tennis players set to attend 2018 Australian Open

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At the launch of the 2018 Australian Open on Tuesday, tournament director Craig Tiley revealed first-time mother Williams, 36, has not ruled out making her comeback in Melbourne after giving birth in September.

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.

Speaking after an announcement on what fans could expect of the 2018 tournament, he said: "Serena, the competitor that she is, she wants to win more than the 23 grand slam titles that she has".

Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, one more than Steffi Graf for the Open-era record.

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The 2018 event, a warm-up for the Australian Open, runs from January 7-13.

Williams' stellar year saw her return to the world top five for the first time since 2011, the year she was diagnosed with strength-sapping Sjogren's Syndrome.

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. Obviously, at training now, there is several months to go. "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". "The last time I played in the Sydney International I was 18 years old, so a lot has changed in this time".

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.

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Meanwhile, Tiley could not guarantee wayward Australian Bernard Tomic would get a start in the men's draw.

"There's still quite a bit of tennis to be played before the end of the year so that (a wildcard) is a bridge we'll cross when we come to it".

"Venus has also had an incredible year, turning back the clock to make the second week of every major this year", Tiley said.

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