Serena, 23 Americans
on Australian Open Entry List
E.J. Crawford | December 7, 2017
The Australian Open revealed its preliminary entry lists on Wednesday, a potential 2018 draw that includes 23 Americans – and one very prominent defending champion: Serena Williams.
Serena dazzled at the 2017 Australian Open, defeating sister Venus to win the Melbourne Grand Slam for her 23rd major, breaking a tie with Steffi Graf for the most Grand Slam singles titles in the Open era. She then amazed the tennis world a couple of months later, revealing that she captured the crown while two months pregnant.
Serena did not play after last year’s Australian Open – she and then-fiancé-now-husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, welcomed daughter Alexis Olympia on Sept. 1 – and has not officially announced when she plans to return to the professional game.
On Wednesday, however, Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said it was “very likely” that Serena would compete in Melbourne in 2018.ADVERTISEMENT
“She’s got her visa, she’s entered, she’s practicing and she’s probably just got to find a bit more space for a bigger entourage,” Tiley told the Herald Sun, adding, “We’d be pretty excited about the possibility [of her coming].”
Serena is currently No. 22 in the world rankings, putting her in line to be seeded. She is joined on the 2018 Australian Open women’s entry list by world No. 5 Venus, No. 10 Coco Vandeweghe, No. 13 Sloane Stephens, No. 19 Madison Keys, No. 49 Lauren Davis, No. 58 Shelby Rogers, No. 61 CiCi Bellis, No. 63 Varvara Lepchenko, No. 64 Christina McHale, No. 65 Jennifer Brady, No. 70 Alison Riske, No. 84 Madison Brengle and No. 95 Taylor Townsend.
In addition, Australian Open Wild Card Challenge winner Kristie Ahn has secured a wild card into the main draw. And Anna Tatishvili, Sofia Kenin and Nicole Gibbs are the first, second and fifth main-draw alternates, meaning they would move into the main draw in that order should anyone withdraw.
World No. 8 Jack Sock paces the U.S. on the men’s entry list, followed by No. 13 Sam Querrey, No. 17 John Isner, No. 44 Steve Johnson, No. 47 Ryan Harrison, No. 54 Jared Donaldson, No. 61 Donald Young, No. 79 Frances Tiafoe and No. 96 Tennys Sandgren.
Tim Smyczek will also gain entry after winning the men’s Australian Open Wild Card Challenge. 2016 ATP Newcomer of the Year Taylor Fritz is currently the fifth alternate into the Melbourne main draw.