Eleanor Crooks, PA Tennis Correspondent
Venus Williams has been awarded a wild card into next month’s Australian Open.
Tennis bade an emotional farewell to Serena Williams at the US Open but her older sister, now 42, made no statements on her own future and will make a 22nd appearance at Melbourne Park 25 years after her debut.
Venus said: “I am very excited to be returning to Melbourne to compete at the Australian Open in January.
“I’ve been competing in the country for over 20 years now and the Australian community has always supported me wholeheartedly. It will be an honour to play for the fans again and I’m looking forward to making more memories at the tournament this year.”
Vee for #AO2023 💙 🙌
This will mark @Venuseswilliams’ 22nd trip to Melbourne Park, 25 years after making her AO debut in 1998.#AusOpen pic.twitter.com/hAzPdKbwRt
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) December 19, 2022
Venus is ranked down at 1,007th having played sparingly and struggled for victories in recent years.
She did not play a tournament for a year, making her return in August, and lost all four singles matches she played in 2022, most recently at the US Open.
She has won only one match – at Wimbledon in 2021 – since the Australian Open nearly two years ago and has won just three matches at her last 10 grand slam tournaments combined.
Venus has twice reached the Australian Open singles final, in 2003 and 2017, losing to her sister both times, while she and Serena have won the doubles title four times.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said: “Venus is not just an incredible player and fan favourite, she’s a great role model and leader in our sport in so many ways. We are delighted to welcome her back to the AO in January.”