Serena Williams has Entered to Play Australian Open, Says Tournament Chief

(CNN) — Serena Williams has entered to play in the first grand slam of the season at January’s Australian Open, according to the tournament’s organizers.

Defending champion Williams, 36, gave birth to her daughter Alexa in September and married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in a star-studded New Orleans wedding in November.

Last week Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, told CNN Sport that a decision would be made during an upcoming training session in Florida on whether or not the 23-time grand slam champion would make her comeback and compete in Melbourne, where play starts on January 15.

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However, at a Tennis Australia event on Wednesday, the Australian Open’s tournament director, Craig Tiley, was optimistic of Williams defending her Melbourne title and continuing in her quest to break Margaret Court’s all-time singles record of 24 grand slams.

“She has got her visa, she has entered, she’s practicing, and she probably just needs a bit more space for a bigger entourage,” Tiley told reporters.

“There is no question she will be ready in our view.

“She wants to break the record owned by Margaret Court and it would be a significant accomplishment for her to be able to do that.”

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Currently ranked No.22 in the world, Williams told CNN in July she was intending to return to tennis — echoing the words of her spokespeople — and if the American does show up in Melbourne, it would come about four-and-a-half months after she gave birth.

The American won this year’s Australian Open in the early stages of pregnancy and then stepped away from the game.