Serena Williams, who hasn’t played since the US Open, returns to competition in Auckland next week. The 23-time Grand Slam champion arrived in New Zealand with her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou; her mother, Oracene Price; and her daughter, Alexis Olympia.
According to officials, Williams looks fit and eager to compete, warming up in Auckland before aiming to tie Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles.
“There's that steely look in her eye. There's been a good training block from everything I've heard and history is in her eyes,” said ASB Classic tournament director Karl Budge to local press. "It's a pretty motivated Serena Williams to go and capture history and we are pretty lucky that we get to play a small part in that."
In 2019, the 38-year-old American reached two major finals, but she lost both times—the first against Simona Halep at Wimbledon, and Bianca Andreescu at the US Open.
Serena, who has collected 72 trophies, hasn’t won a title since since she beat her older sister, Venus, in the final of the 2017 Australian Open.
In 2017, Serena fell in the first round of Auckland in her first appearance at the event. The former No. 1 is the top seed.