Serena Williams has announced that she will play at the 2020 US Open.
The the sport’s greatest female player with 23 Grand Slam titles confirmed her participation in a video message played during a United States Tennis Association news conference.
The marquee tournament is due to run without fans present from August 31 to September 13.
While reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep and world number one Ashleigh Barty have expressed concerns about the tournament in New York, Williams has confirmed she will be involved.
“Ultimately, I really cannot wait to return to New York and play the US Open 2020,” Williams told reporters on a Zoom conference call.
“I feel like the USTA is going to do a really good job of ensuring everything is amazing and everyone is safe.
“It’s gonna be exciting. It’s been over six months since a lot of us have played professional tennis.
“I’ll certainly miss the fans, don’t get me wrong. Just being out there with that New York crowd and hear everyone cheer, I’ll really miss that in some of those tough matches. But this is crazy, I’m excited.”
Williams needs one more grand slam title to equal Margaret Court’s record haul of 24.
The 38-year-old has ended up on the losing side in each of the previous two US Open finals and the last of her six titles there was won in 2014.
A number of top players, including world number ones Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Australian Ash Barty along with reigning U.S. Open men’s champion Rafa Nadal, are among those who have expressed concerns about participating in the grand slam while curbing the spread of COVID-19 continues to be an issue for the USA and beyond.
New York City has had more than 17,000 COVID-19-related deaths, driving New York’s death toll higher than any other state.