Image: FILE PHOTO: Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – 28/1/17 Serena Williams of the U.S. hits a shot during her Women’s singles final match against Venus Williams of the U.S. .REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo
(Reuters) – Former world number one Serena Williams will return to the tennis courts next month in the United States’ Fed Cup first round tie against the Netherlands, the United States Tennis Association said on Tuesday.
Williams has not played a WTA tournament since she won the Australian Open title last year and skipped this year’s opening grand slam given concerns about her fitness four months after giving birth to her first child.
She has played once since picking up her Open-era record 23rd grand slam in Melbourne last year, losing to Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko in an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi last December.
The 36-year-old American will be joined by older sister Venus and world number nine CoCo Vandeweghe with a fourth player to be announced next week for the Feb. 10-11 tie on an indoor hard court in Asheville, North Carolina.
The U.S. beat Belarus last year for a record-extending 18th Fed Cup title, their first in 17 years.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)
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