NEW YORK, (Reuters) – Serena Williams will make her long-awaited return to the Arthur Ashe center court yesterday when she opens her latest U.S. Open campaign against Bojana Jovanovski.
The American has already won the U.S. Open on three occasions but her last appearance at Flushing Meadows, two years ago, ended shamefully when she unleashed a foul-mouthed attack on a line judge.
She was docked a point that cost her the match against eventual champion Kim Clijsters, and handed a hefty fine.
Williams missed the tournament last year because of a foot injury and has been out for most of this season. She made a belated return and won lead-up events in California and Toronto to wrap up the U.S. Open series and enhance her reputation as one of the favourites to win the title.
“I’ve always wanted to win the U.S. Open Series, so I can check that off the list,” said Williams, who was scheduled to play the final night match on center court.
“I just have a couple more checks and then it will be good.”
Rafa Nadal, the defending men’s champion, will also play at night, against Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan while both world number ones play during the day session.
Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, a recent winner in New Haven, faces Nuria Llagostera Vives of Spain while Serbia’s Novak Djokovic tackles Irishman Conor Niland.
Djokovic quit last week’s Masters final in Cincinnati because of a shoulder problem but said the injury had healed.
“My shoulder is feeling fine. I had a little trouble in Cincinnati throughout the whole week, and I carried that up to the final,” he said.
“It was unfortunate to finish this way the match against Murray but I think it was the right decision because I couldn’t risk it anymore.
“I decided to take some time off and went to an MRI (scan) and everything is fine. I have been serving in last couple of days, playing 100 per cent, so I’m ready for the tournament.”