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 United States Tennis Association announced 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 hard-court 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 results.
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.
Last year’s US Open runner-up Madison Keys was not named in the squad but she told reporters in Melbourne on Wednesday that she spoke with team captain Kathy Rinaldi, who asked her to commit to the second Fed Cup tie of the year instead.
Keys is thrilled Serena is coming back.
“I think it’s always great to have Serena around and playing. She’s the best female tennis player ever, arguably the best tennis player ever. So to have her playing in the sport is always good. Also to have her playing Fed Cup, it’s always fun to be on a team with Serena. I’m very much looking forward to having her back on the tour,” said the 22-year-old Keys.
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.
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