Serena Williams Backed to Equal Record in Australian Open

Serena Williams Backed to Equal Record in Australian Open

Serena Williams has been named as 9/2 favourite to win the Australian Open, the first tennis Major of 2019, upon her return to the tournament having missed out in 2018.

Williams will resume her quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam triumph in Melbourne having lost in the final of both Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018, meaning she remains one title short of Margaret Court’s all-time record for singles titles.

On Williams’ last appearance at the Australian Open in 2017, she beat sister Venus in the final to lift the trophy for a seventh time, a feat all the more remarkable given Serena was eight weeks pregnant at the time.

Having been unable to defend her title in 2018, Williams has gone straight to the head of the betting as the woman to beat in 2019, with Ladbrokes going 9/2 on her taking back the crown from last year’s winner Caroline Wozniacki (12/1).

Williams’ last match of the 2018 season was clouded in controversy as Naomi Osaka’s maiden Major win was overshadowed by Serena’s much-publicised argument with umpire Carlos Ramos.

Williams accused Ramos of being a “thief” and “a liar” during the US Open final, an outburst which divided the tennis community, and she sparked further debate about sexism in tennis after standing by her comments in the post-match press conference.

There were suggestions the 37-year-old could walk away from the sport, such was her disillusion at the time, but the Australian Open in Melbourne will mark her return to the Major scene.

Before then, she will warm up at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, followed by the Hopman Cup in Perth.

Serena’s stiffest competition at the Australian Open is expected to be world number one Simona Halep, who is second favourite at 7/1, while US Open champion Osaka is 8/1 third favourite along with Angelique Kerber.

Who is Serena Williams?

Serena Williams is one of the most successful tennis players of all time, to date winning 23 Grand Slam titles. Having turned professional in 1995, the American is credited with revolutionising the women’s game with her powerful, aggressive style of play.

Her older sister Venus is also a multiple Grand Slam winner and the Williams sisters are also known for their business nous, having collaborated to buy a stake in NFL franchise the Miami Dolphins in 2009.

As well as accumulating over $88million in WTA career prize money throughout her tennis profession, the 37-year-old also owns her own clothing line, simply named Serena.

Annual endorsements of around €19million ensured she is the world’s highest paid female athlete and has been for the last three years, according to Forbes, with a net worth in the region of $180m.

In her personal life, Serena Williams has been married to Alexis Ohanian since 2017, with the couple having got engaged in 2016. Her husband is also a self-made millionaire, believed to be worth around $9m as one of the co-founders of discussion website Reddit.

The two have one daughter together, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, who was born in September 2017.

Men’s Australian Open 2019 Odds

Meanwhile, in the men’s outright betting, Roger Federer is around 5/1 to defend his title among the best tennis betting sites, with world number one Novak Djokovic a clear favourite at 5/4 to win the tournament for a seventh time.

Both Federer and Djokovic have won the Australian Open six times and should either man win it again, a seventh title would be an outright record, with native Aussie Roy Emerson having also won it six times throughout the 1960s.

Five-time runner-up Andy Murray has also been entered to the first Major of 2019, thanks to his protected ranking, which permits the Scotsman direct entry in up to nine tournaments from the point at which he returned from 11 months out, namely June 2018.

The 31-year-old’s injury-ravaged spell has seen him slip to number 259th in the world and he will not be seeded in Melbourne, explaining his long odds of 30/1 at Unibet.

Rafael Nadal, incidentally, is second favourite to win the 2019 Australian Open – which will be available to stream live via Bet365 – for a third time, with an opening price available at 11/2 across the board.