October 10, 2017 at 2:02 PM
Tennis fans might have extra reason to tune into the Australian Open next year.
“Serena [Williams] will be back,” tournament director Craig Tiley announced Tuesday at a news conference in Melbourne (via the Associated Press).
“She wants to come back in 2018 and defend her title,” Tiley added (via the BBC). “Obviously, at training now, there is several months to go and it will be up to her as far as where she is with her fitness.”
Williams, who gave birth last month to her first child, a daughter, famously won the Australian Open in January while roughly eight weeks pregnant. She found out on the eve of the tournament, and once medically cleared to play by her doctor, it was full steam ahead.
Even during her pregnancy, Williams remained active, training on the court as often as possible with the idea of returning to the Australian Open in 2018.
“I don’t think my story is over yet,” she told Vanity Fair over the summer, when she first indicated that she wanted to come back in January.
Williams has long favored the Aussie Open, even insinuating her daughter’s name, Alexis Olympia, whom she shares with fiance, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, is an ode to the Melbourne-based tournament.
Despite Williams’s past assertions, however, she’s been mum lately about her intentions with tennis, preferring instead to share more parental-oriented tidbits.
While diapers and snuggles are front and center on social media, though, the 36-year-old looks to have wasted no time getting back into athletic form.
Including her seven Australian Open titles, Williams has won a total of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, more than anyone else in the Open-era and one shy to tie the record held by Australian Margaret Court, who coincidentally, won three of her titles after returning from giving birth to a son in 1973.
“I don’t know,” Court, 74, told Reuters earlier this year when asked whether she thought Williams would also find success with a comeback. “It’ll depend on her.”