Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley is confident that former world number one’s Serena Williams and Andy Murray will compete at the 2018 event.
Williams is coming off giving birth to her first child in September, while Murray has been nursing a hip injury. In their absence from the game, they have lost their rankings but Tiley insists they will both be back on court come January.
Today I bought my first bag of diapers. I felt so grown picking out the bag. I may have even looked around hoping someone saw me. Haha
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) October 9, 2017
"She wants to come back in 2018 and defend her title," Tiley said of Williams on BBC Sport.
"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.
"If anyone can do it, she can and I'm certainly not counting her out of a return come January."
Meanwhile, Tiley revealed that Murray's focus has been on recovering in order to have a good 2018 season, which he plans to start in Melbourne.
"I can tell you that in talking to Andy, he has been training and he is preparing for having a great year in 2018," continued Tiley.
"How much would this year have hurt him, to watch over the entire year Roger [Federer] and Rafael [Nadal] share four Grand Slam titles – he would not have liked that.
"As competitive as Andy is, we know he's back and he'll want to improve his current ranking of number three in the world and getting back to number one."
The 106th edition of the Australian Open gets underway in Melbourne on 15 January 2018.