Twenty-three time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams will launch her 2021 season at one of the tune-up events to the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Two WTA 500 events, the Gippsland Trophy and the Yarra Valley Classic, are scheduled to be held from February 1. However, there’s no word of confirmation yet on which of these two events the American will play.
All traditional tennis events in the Australian summer have been canceled this year, as the Australian Open has been delayed in the wake of a government decree that all players will have to observe two weeks of hard quarantine as the visiting public.
All the replacement tune-up events across both the men’s and women’s fields have been shifted to Melbourne to work around logistical challenges.
The WTA 500 events will feature top players in the women’s circuit, with Serena being one of them. The likes of two-time Grand Slam winner Simona Halep, British star Johanna Konta and defending Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin will be among the other top players to headline the fields at these events.
Serena’s last piece of tennis action came before her home crowd at the US Open last year. She made the semifinals at the Flushing Meadows before losing to familiar foe and two-time Major championship winner Victoria Azarenka.
The two have played each other 23 times, with the American holding a commanding 18-5 lead over the Belarussian.
However, Serena’s Grand Slam drought stretched to the third straight year in 2020 as she failed to land her 24th title, which would put her alongside the legendary Margaret Court for the most number of Major trophies won.
Her last moment of glory in a Grand Slam came at the 2017 Australian Open when she beat sister Venus Williams to take the title.
Serena’s 23 Grand Slam championship win took her past former rival and German legend Steffi Graf’s tally of 22 titles.
The American has made light of all the retirement talk and is determined to carry on till her goal of equaling Court’s haul is reached.