Serena, Nadal confirmed for Australian Open

Serena Williams

A year after she withdrew from the Australian Open in the wake of her first pregnancy, Serena Williams is confirmed as an entrant in the 2019 tournament, the Open announced on Wednesday.

The 37-year-old American achieved her victory over sister Venus in the final two years ago while eight weeks pregnant with her daughter Alexis Olympia, who was born the following September.

"It's always special to see our defending champions - Caroline (Wozniacki) had her first Grand Slam win here this year, so will be keen to start 2019 on a high", said tournament organiser Craig Tiley.

Williams accused Ramos of being a "thief" and "a liar" during the US Open final, an outburst which divided the tennis community, and she sparked further debate about sexism in tennis after standing by her comments in the post-match press conference.

Williams backed out of the 2018 Australian Open, however, due to insufficient preparation time after her pregnancy.

Former world No. 1 Williams, now ranked 16th, is scheduled to play an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi in the final week of this month before heading to Australia for the Hopman Cup in Perth.

Serena Williams is one of the most successful tennis players of all time, to date winning 23 Grand Slam titles.

Her older sister Venus is also a multiple Grand Slam victor and the Williams sisters are also known for their business nous, having collaborated to buy a stake in National Football League franchise the Miami Dolphins in 2009. Prior to Wimbledon, she was ranked 183rd by the WTA.

Andy Murray will be included in the men's draw alongside Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Also among the 102 women and 101 men to have confirmed they will compete in the first grand slam of 2019 is five-times runner up Andy Murray, who missed three of the four majors past year because of a hip injury.

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