Former world No 1 Venus Williams has been confirmed in the line-up for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships after being granted a wild card entry into the tournament on Monday.
Williams has previously taken part in the Dubai tennis championship, that begins on 17 February, in 2002 and 2009, winning the title in 2010.
Despite reaching the finals of the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, the American has been struggling for form at the start of this campaign.
Crashing out of the Australia Open in the first round for only the second time in 14 appearances, Williams held a 3-0 lead in the third set before dropping the next five games, being defeated by Elaterina Makarova on the tournaments opening day.
The 33 year-old is now ranked 37th in the world and there is little doubt that health problems, back injury and issues with Sjögren’s Syndrome have hindered the elder Williams sister's performances of late but will be looking to bounce back with tournaments coming thick and fast this month.
Before heading to Dubai, Williams will be competing in the Qatar Total Open starting on 10 February and will make her way to the Emirates later this week.
“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.
On her way to the 2009 title, Venus beat sister Serena, the current world No 1, in a semi-final that went to a third set tiebreak.
“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 in Melbourne last month, Ana Ivanovic (No 7), Sara Errani (No 14), Simona Halep (No 15), Jelena Jankovic (No 17) as well as defending champion Petra Kvitova and 2011 champ Caroline Wozniacki.
For more information on the tournament and how to obtain your tickets, visit: www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com
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