Though no player, male or female, has won more Grand Slam titles in singles in the Open Era than Williams—who has 23— after more than a year off the tour, she said she was happy to start in doubles.
“I think you’ve to put Venus and CoCo in,” Serena told fedcup.com in the days leading up to the tie.
“They’ve been having such a great past 12 months, it just makes sense. We’re here ultimately to do what’s best for the team, and I think that’s what’s best for the team,” the new mom-on-tour added.
Sunday will mark the 379th day since Serena Williams last played a tour-level match— defeating her sister, Venus, to win her 23rd Major at the 2017 Australian Open. In that span she’s played one exhibition match, against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi right before the 2018 season.
She and Davis will take on Dutch pair Lesley Kerkhove and Demi Schuurs, both of whom have had success in doubles on the WTA: Kerhove has one career WTA doubles title and Schuurs has five, including two already this season at Brisbane (with Kiki Bertens) and Hobart (with Elise Mertens).
Williams has a 16-1 career record in Fed Cup, but while she’s 13-0 in singles, she’s 3-1 in doubles— and in the only doubles rubber she ever played with someone other than Venus, she lost (in a World Group play-off tie against Italy in 2015, she and Alison Riske lost to Sara Errani and Flavia Pennetta).
Tennis Channel presents—Unstrung: Serena Williams
In other Williams news, Venus Williams gave the U.S. a winning start on Saturday with a comfortable 6-1 6-4 victory over Dutch left-hander Arantxa Rus, who’s perhaps best known for snapping Kim Clijsters’ 15-match Grand Slam winning streak in the second round of the French Open back in 2011.
It was the milestone 1,000th match of Venus’ professional career: She now has a 776-224 record.
CoCo Vandeweghe put the U.S. up 2-0 after winning the second singles rubber.
At the moment, Serena Williams’ comeback in singles is scheduled for March. Over the past few weeks it’s been announced she will play at both the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., and the Miami Open. She’s won Indian Wells twice and Miami eight times, a tournament record.
Highlights—Day 1, Fed Cup: United States vs. Netherlands