Johannesburg - The US Open, which starts tomorrow, will probably be the last Grand Slam that six-time champion Serena Williams will miss – she has announced that she will defend her Australian Open title in January.
The win was her last before she went on maternity leave. The 35-year-old recently shared videos of herself on social media hitting balls around the court.
“I am looking forward to becoming a mother and coming back to the courts. I’m always thinking about what’s next – the next victory; the next trophy,” she told The Telegraph.
According to the New York Times, she said that if her 37-year-old sister Venus was still playing, so could she.
“If Venus is still playing, I know I can play. This is just a new part of my life. My baby’s going to be in the stands and hopefully cheering for me,” she said.
The pregnancy news came as a surprise to the 23-time Grand Slam champion, who was just weeks along when she won the Australian Open this year. She ended up taking six pregnancy tests to confirm the news.
Another mum who will miss the New York event is two-time Grand Slam winner Victoria Azarenka. She has withdrawn from the event because she is in the middle of a custody battle and is not allowed to take her son Leo out of California.
The 28-year-old Belarusian returned to action in June and had hoped that legal arrangements could be worked out to allow her to compete in New York.
Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova is set to make her first appearance at a Grand Slam event after a 15-month suspension for taking meldonium. She has been handed a wild card entry.