Mum's the word: Williams firms for Australian Open
TENNIS: New mum Serena Williams has provided the biggest indication so far that she will defend her Australian Open crown next month.
Williams, who won her 23rd grand slam singles title at last year's Australian Open while eight weeks pregnant before taking time out to have her first child, indicated on Tuesday she could soon be back on court when she posted an Instagram photo of a pair of dazzling gold and white tennis shoes.
"Be excited. Be very excited...” the 36-year-old said in the post.
Williams has already entered next month's Australian Open and tournament director Craig Tiley last week said the American was "very likely” to defend her title.
"She's got her visa, she's entered, she's practising,” he said.
"There's no question that she'll be ready, in our view.”
Williams gave birth to her first child, daughter Alexis Olympia, in September, leaving just four months to prepare for the first major of the new year starting on January 15.
Evonne Goolagong Cawley, fellow Australian all-time great Margaret Court and Belgian Kim Clijsters are the only three mothers in half a century of professional tennis to have won grand slam singles titles.
But Williams is less than five weeks away from becoming the fourth, according to Goolagong Cawley.
"I think she will,” the former world No.1 said.
"I hope so because she's got so much talent and so much in her to win more tournaments.
Williams only revealed that she was pregnant in the weeks after beating sister Venus in this year's final, when she won a record seventh Australian Open crown.