Serena Plans “Outrageous” Return For Aussie Open

The currently-pregnant Serena Williams is targeting a successful defence of her Australian Open title in January.

Although Williams has not publicly revealed her due date, she is expected to give birth towards the end of September.

That would give the 35-year-old around three months in order to prepare for the new season a plan even she describes as “outrageous”.

She told the US version of Vogue: “It’s the most outrageous plan. I just want to put that out there. That’s, like, three months after I give birth. I’m not walking anything back, but I’m just saying it’s pretty intense.”

A 24th Grand Slam singles title in Melbourne would see Williams equal Margaret Court’s all-time record and bookmakers Sky Bet already have the American as their 3/1 favourite – other firms go 5/2 – ahead of 2016 winner Angelique Kerber (11/2) and another former champion Maria Sharapova (6/1). Briton Johanna Konta is a 14/1 chance.

Williams, who last played in this year’s Australian Open final against sister Venus, also said she would only return when she is capable of winning – and suggested she would quit if she were unable to compete at the top of the sport.

“In this game you can go dark fast,” she added. “If I lose, and I lose again, it’s like, she’s done. Especially since I’m not 20 years old. I’ll tell you this much: I won’t win less. Either I win, or I don’t play.”

Victoria Azarenka, like Williams a former world number one, is a high-profile mother on the WTA circuit at present. She returned to action in June having given birth to son Leo in December. In total she was off the court for just over a year.


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