NEW YORK, NEW YORK — SEPTEMBER 05: Serena Williams of the United States celebrates after winning her Women's Singles semi-final match against Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine on day eleven of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 05, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/AFP == FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TEL
NEW YORK, NEW YORK — SEPTEMBER 05: Serena Williams of the United States celebrates after winning her Women's Singles semi-final match against Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine on day eleven of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 05, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/AFP == FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TEL

Serena to pursue history in Australia

Serena Williams' relentless quest to equal Margaret Court's grand slam record will continue at the Australian Open in January, when the American will chase an eighth Melbourne Park crown.

The former world No 1 is among the key entries for the January 20-February 2 major, which will be launched Tuesday with skyrocketing prizemoney and the imminent presence of the world's best players.

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With prizemoney set to rise again to record levels from $62.5 million, Andy Murray is also set to return to Rod Laver Arena after it was feared the tournament had seen the last of the five-time runner-up last January.

The Scot has since regained fitness after radical hip surgery and will be among a string of major winners to sign on for the first grand slam of the season.

With Australia's charge to be led by world No 1 Ash Barty and Alex de Minaur, Naomi Osaka will seek to defend her singles crown as Novak Djokovic bids for a record eighth men's title.

 

(L-R) Alex de Minaur and Ashleigh Barty will lead the local hopes in Melbourne. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images
(L-R) Alex de Minaur and Ashleigh Barty will lead the local hopes in Melbourne. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

At 38, Williams will have to defy history to match Court's tally of 24 grand slam singles titles.

The American first contested the Open in 1998 before advancing to victory in 2003, '05, '07, '9-10, 2015 and '17 - with her most recent success here coming while she was pregnant.

Since giving birth to her daughter Alexis in 2017, Williams has contested and lost four major finals, including last month's US Open to Canadian Bianca Andreescu.

Williams, Osaka, Barty, Andreescu and Wimbledon champion Simona Halep will again be among the tournament's biggest drawcards.

Roger Federer, Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, Stan Wawrinka and Murray are among the high-profile men to sign up for next year's Melbourne Park blockbuster.

News Corp Australia

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