Serena getting ready for U.S. Open
Free Press staff, wire report | 8/23/2019, 6 a.m.
Tennis champion Serena Williams is getting ready for the U.S. Open, which gets underway Aug. 26 at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.
Serena, 37, is ranked No. 8, while her 39-year-old sister, Venus, is ranked No. 52.
Serena’s preparations for the final Grand Slam of the year have been far from perfect, with injuries limiting her time on court.
The 23-times Grand Slam champion retired from the Rogers Cup final in Toronto earlier this month because of back spasms, which led to her withdrawal from the Cincinnati Masters.
Officials from the United States Tennis Association said this week that umpire Carlos Ramos, whom Serena clashed with during her loss to Naomi Osaka during the final at the 2018 U.S. Open, will return as part of the umpiring staff this year, but would not be assigned to matches involving either of the Williams sisters.
The official said the tournament did not want to create a distraction by putting Serena and Ramos back on the same court.
Serena will begin her 2020 season with a return to the Auckland Open in January, her first appearance at the tournament since she was ousted in the second round in 2017.
The Auckland Open serves as a warm-up before the year’s first Grand Slam, the Australian Open, which begins on Jan. 20.
In her last Auckland appearance, then top seed Serena hit 88 unforced errors in windy conditions, losing to compatriot Madison Brengle, who was ranked 70 rungs lower.
“Oh man, I want to win that title so bad,” Serena was quoted as saying by the tournament organizers. “Last time I was there, I had so much going on. And although I fought through to win my first match, I know I didn’t play to my level.
“I have such amazing memories that are really special to me from Auckland,” Serena added, referring to her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian days before the 2017 tournament.
“I would really like to add some on court memories to that list.”