In Brief

Australian Open 2019: Serena Williams and Andy Murray confirmed for Melbourne

World’s top 102 women and top 101 men will compete in the first slam of the year

Australian Open 2019
  • What: first tennis grand slam of the season 
  • When: 14-27 January 2019 
  • Where: Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

It has been confirmed that Serena Williams will play at the 2019 Australian Open as she bids to equal the record number of grand slam victories.

The American, 37, is a seven-time winner in Melbourne and if she is successful in 2019 she will go level with Margaret Court who won 24 grand slam singles titles.

It will be Williams’s first time back down under after beating her sister Venus in the 2017 final. 

Tournament organisers have announced that the world’s top 102 women and top 101 men have all confirmed they will play in January.

In the women’s singles draw, world No.1 Simona Halep heads the field and will be joined by world No.16 Williams and last year’s champion, world No.3 Caroline Wozniacki.

Djokovic and Federer go for seventh win

In the men’s field world No.1 Novak Djokovic will be seeking a record seventh Australian Open crown. Rafael Nadal, the 2009 winner, and defending champion Roger Federer, who like Djokovic is a six-time champion, will also play in Melbourne.

Andy Murray has entered the Australian Open by using his protected ranking of No.2. The BBC reports that five-time finalist Murray, who missed three of last year’s four majors through injury, will not be seeded.

Murray’s fellow Brits Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie will also play in the men’s singles. Edmund reached the semi-finals in 2018.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said: “It’s an exciting time of year and we can’t wait to welcome this exceptionally strong player field to Melbourne for Australian Open 2019.

“It’s always special to see our defending champions - Caroline [Wozniacki] had her first grand slam win here last year so will be keen to start 2019 on a high. And of course Roger Federer has special memories of Melbourne, having won here six times, something only Novak [Djokovic] and Roy Emerson have done in the past.

“After an incredible end-of-season run this year Novak will be full of confidence. He’s a fan favourite here and loves the conditions in Melbourne. I’ve been in touch with Rafa [Nadal] and he’s back to full fitness after cutting his season short after Paris and can’t wait to arrive in Australia.”

Australian Open early predictions

Greg Rusedski, speaking to Tennis365.com: “I think it’s a fair statement to suggest Novak is favourite for all four Grand Slams next year. The other players will be starting their pre-season programmes now and they need to do something special to get near Djokovic because he is playing tennis that none of them can touch.”

Harry Floyd, Lob and Smash: “With the 2019 Australian Open right around the corner, Serbian tennis icon Novak Djokovic is emerging as the favourite in men’s singles. He is coming off of yet another career year - 2018 was the ‘Year of Nole’ thanks to a beyond impressive comeback from ongoing injuries.”

Tennis Pro Guru: “Predicting any WTA tournament is pretty hard, as the field of possible winners is too wide. We think that Karolina Pliskova would deserve to win a Grand Slam event finally. However, there is Serena Williams looking for revenge after US Open 2018 unfortunate final. In the end, we will pick Pliskova as youth energy should prevail again.”

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