Williams returns to Melbourne Park for the first time since winning the 2017 title while pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia, and chasing a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title. The 37-year-old opens against Germany’s Tatjana Maria, while sister Venus, a two-time finalist at Melbourne Park, faces No.25 seed Mihaela Buzarnescu.
No.3 seed Wozniacki will launch her title defence against Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck, having been drawn in the bottom half of the draw with No.2 seed Angelique Kerber.
“I can’t believe it’s been a year already – it’s awesome to be back,” Wozniacki said during her appearance at the draw ceremony before reflecting on her 2018 triumph.
“It means so much to me. It’s something I’ve wanted my whole career, and something I waited for for a long time. To finally get that here was very special – it’s the Happy Slam, it’s the first slam of the year, and it just made my year so much more enjoyable.
“It’s something I always hoped for and dreamt of, and to be back here, it just feels so great. The first time I came back here and hit on the courts, I thought, ‘Okay, I’m home.’ I feel like these courts are suited for me, so it’s incredible to be back. I’m just enjoying every minute of it.”
The 28-year-old beat a hasty retreat before the draw was announced, in line with her habit of not checking the bracket beyond the next opponent.
“When I was a junior, a long time ago, I used to look, but most of the time I used to lose and realise it doesn’t matter,” she explained. “So then I stopped looking at the draws, and I started winning, so I figured I may as well keep going. For me, it’s so important to stay in the moment.
“There’s so many great players out there, so many that can beat anyone on a good day. So for me it’s all about focusing on this opponent and what I need to do out there in my next match.”
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