New York - Serena Williams, who has not played a competitive
match since capturing last year's Australian Open, will return to the court
next month at a Fed Cup tie, the US Tennis Association announced on Tuesday.
Williams was pregnant when she won her 23rd major crown last
January in Melbourne. She gave birth to a girl, Alexis Olympia, last September
and married father Alexis Ohanian in November.
The defending Fed Cup champion Americans will play host to
the Netherlands in a first-round tie February 10-11 on an indoor hardcourt at
Asheville, North Carolina.
Joining 22nd-ranked Williams on the US squad will be her
sister seven-time Grand Slam champion, Venus, and ninth-ranked CoCo Vandeweghe,
a semi-finalist at last year's US and Australian Opens in her best major
This will be the first time in two years that either
Williams sister has been on the US Fed Cup squad. The US women have never lost
in eight ties when both Williams sisters have been named to the squad, the most
recent of those wins in 2015.
Serena last played Fed Cup in April 2015, when she won two
singles matches in a World Group playoff loss to Italy in Brindisi.
Venus, ranked fifth, won two singles matches in her most
recent Fed Cup appearance in a 2016 tie against Poland in Hawaii.
Vandeweghe went a combined 8-0 in singles and doubles for
the US Fed Cup team last year, the first player with eight wins in the same
year in more than 20 seasons.
The final member of the US squad and the Dutch line-up will
be announced next week, the USTA announcement said.
The Americans are 6-2 against the Dutch in their all-time
rivalry, but the most recent meeting was a 5-0 US home sweep in 1998. The only
Dutch wins came in 1968 and 1997.