x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Venus Williams added to Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships line-up via wild card

The former world No 1 will return to Dubai to compete for the tournament title she won in 2009 and 2010, organisers announced on Monday.

Venus Williams won back-to-back Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship titles in 2009/10. Photo Courtesy / Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
Venus Williams won back-to-back Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship titles in 2009/10. Photo Courtesy / Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

Venus Williams will compete at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships begnning on February 17 after being granted a wild card slot, the tournament announced on Monday.

Williams first participated in the tournament in 2002 and won the title in 2009 and 2010.

“Venus Williams is one of the greatest players of this century and it is with great pleasure that we welcome her back to Dubai,” said Colm McLoughlin, executive vice chairman of tournament owners and organisers, in a press release.

On her way to the 2009 title, Venus beat her sister Serena, the current world No 1, in a semi-final that went to a third set tiebreak.

Her health, most notably her bout with Sjögren’s Syndrome, has held her back from her mid-decade peak, however, and now the former No 1 is ranked 48th in the world and she fell to Ekaterina Makarova of Russia in the first round at last month’s Australian Open.

“Despite her being such an accomplished champion, the entry list for the tournament is so strong that her current ranking did not qualify her for direct entry into the main draw, and we are pleased to offer her a wild card,” said tournament director Salah Tahlak in the release.

That field includes Agnieszka Radwanksa (world No 3), who made it to the semi-finals last month in Melbourne, Ana Ivanovic (No 12), Sara Errani (No 7), Simona Halep (No 15), Jelena Jankovic (No 8) as well as defending champion Petra Kvitova (No 6) and 2011 champ Caroline Wozniacki (No 11). World No 16 Samantha Stosur is competing, as well.