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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Serena Williams

Serena Williams joins defending champion Caroline Wozniacki and world No. 1 Simona Halep headlining the entry list for the 2019 Australian Open.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

Serena Williams will try to match Margaret Court's magic major number in Melbourne.

The 2017 Australian Open champion joins defending champion Caroline Wozniacki and world No. 1 Simona Halep headlining the entry list for the 2019 Australian Open.

Fiercest Feud: Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova

The world’s top 102 women and top 101 men have all confirmed they will compete at the Melbourne major set for January 14-27th.

Commanding the center of the court, Serena hit her way into history defeating older sister Venus, 6-4, 6-4, in the 2017 final to claim her seventh Australian Open title and Open Era-record 23rd Grand Slam championship, breaking the mark she shared with Steffi Graf. She achieved it all while eight weeks pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia.

The 37-year-old Serena continues her quest to claim her 24th Grand Slam championship to equal Aussie Margaret Court's all-time major record.

Williams fell to Angelique Kerber in the Wimbledon final and blew up at chair umpire Carlos Ramos in a controversial 6-2, 6-4, setback to Naomi Osaka in the US Open final.

Serena, who pulled the plug on her 2018 season after the US Open final, is scheduled to face Venus in an Abu Dhabi exhibition on December 27th before squaring off against Roger Federer in mixed doubles at the Hopman Cup in Perth on New Year's day. 

Three women—Timea Bacsinszky, Laura Siegemund and Bethanie Mattek-Sands—will enter the main draw with protected rankings.

Agnieszka Radwanska, who recently retired, is the lone prominent woman missing from Melbourne.

“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," Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said. “On the women’s side we’ve seen a number of new champions in 2018. Naomi Osaka started her path to Grand Slam glory right here in Melbourne, reaching the fourth round, and building to win the US Open. And after making the final here it was wonderful to see Simona (Halep) win at Roland Garros, and our own 2016 champion Angie Kerber win at Wimbledon."

A trio of men—five-time finalist Andy Murray, a year removed from undergoing hip surgery in Australia, Janko Tipsarevic and Steve Darcis—gain main-draw entry on protected rankings.

Reigning champion Roger Federer and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic are both aiming for a record seventh Australian Open championship, which would break the current mark the pair share with Aussie legend Roy Emerson.

A decade removed from his classic five-set conquest of Federer in the 2009 final, Rafel Nadal is also set to return.

The 32-year-old Nadal, who underwent ankle surgery after pulling out of the Paris Masters, has not played since retiring from his US Open semifinal against Juan Martin del Potro in September.

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

Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Federer, Djokovic and Nadal have combined to win 12 of the last 13 Australian Open titles with only Stan Wawrinka, who toppled Nadal in the 2014 final, breaking their dominance down under.

Will January bring us a first-time Grand Slam champion?

Wawrinka and Djokovic (2008) are the last men to win maiden majors in Melbourne.

“And there are so many contenders who have the game, fitness and ability to break through on the men’s side," Tiley said. "Kei Nishikori has had an incredible year, as have Marin Cilic and Kevin Anderson. The young guns Sasha Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas are all on the cusp of a breakthrough at this level."


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