• AFP-Jiji


Ash Barty is the hot favorite to win her home Australian Open for the first time when it begins on Monday, but even with Serena Williams absent the world No. 1 faces threats from all angles.

For the first time in a quarter of a century the first Grand Slam of the year will not feature either of the Williams sisters. Serena would have been pursuing a record-equaling 24th major crown but she is not fit.

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