Melbourne: Injury and illness may have affected their game but the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, will play in the Australian Open tennis next month.

Confirming this, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said both are coming to Melbourne.

Venus, a five-time Wimbledon champion, played in only four tournaments this year, a quarter-final at Eastbourne, ahead of Wimbledon, being her best result, as reported. She missed first four months with a right hip problem, and then she was diagnosed to be suffering from the immune deficiency Sjogren's Syndrome, which causes joint soreness and fatigue.

Venus has decided to have an extra two weeks' preparation for Melbourne (January 16-29) and give Auckland (January 2-9) a miss.

Serena, who missed the last Australian Open, has also had a bad run this year. She was hit with a heel injury and then pulmonary embolism, missing 12 months in total, not returning until June.

She then withdrew from Tokyo and Beijing in October with illness and finished the year at No. 12 Venus's ranking has slipped to 102, the lowest the former No. 1 has been in 15 years.

(Agencies)