Serena Williams to Play at Madison Square Garden in March

Serena Williams to Play at Madison Square Garden in March

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Serena Williams is on a long layoff from competitive tennis, but on March 5 she is expected to play in a new short-form tournament in New York.

Williams, who gave birth to a daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., on Sept. 1, could return to the tennis tour somewhere else before that, but she has at least committed to appear in a one-day tiebreaker event at Madison Square Garden.

“She will 100 percent be there,” said Felicity Barnard, the chief executive of Tie Break Tens, who said both Serena and her older sister Venus Williams confirmed several months ago that they would attend the event.

Serena Williams has not played competitively since she won her 23rd Grand Slam singles title, at the Australian Open on Jan. 29, 2017. She lost an exhibition match against Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 30, but several days later Williams withdrew from the Australian Open, saying, “I’m not where I personally want to be.”

Her absence from the tour may have been prolonged by the harrowing medical complications she endured from her labor, which were outlined in an interview in the February issue of Vogue Magazine.

The Tie Break Tens, which borrows from the faster-paced concepts being used in sports like Twenty20 cricket and Rugby Sevens, pits eight players in a knockout format. The contestants play a 10-point tiebreaker and the winner advances to the next round.

The event takes roughly three hours and the champion gets all $250,000.

“It’s very ruthless,” Barnard said in a telephone interview from Australia. “It’s so quick and dynamic that it really keeps people on their toes.”

There have been four previous Tie Break Tens events, including one recently in Melbourne, Australia, where Tomas Berdych vanquished a field that included Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

The organizers say they will promote the New York event in conjunction with International Women’s Day on March 8.

“I am excited to be playing in the first ever U.S. tournament and cannot wait to play at Madison Square Garden with my sister,” Serena Williams said in a statement released by organizers of the event.

Players have used the Tie Break Tens to get match ready for bigger tournaments, and the New York event, the first one in North America, will be held in advance of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., later in March. Williams said in the Vogue interview that she intended to play there, too.

She also expressed her dedication to winning more Grand Slam events and eventually surpassing Margaret Court’s record of 24 major titles.

“I’m well aware of the record books, unfortunately,” she told Vogue. “It’s not a secret that I have my sights on 25.”

She described the severe medical complications she suffered after giving birth. Her daughter was born by an emergency cesarean section operation after the baby’s heart rate decreased to dangerous levels during contractions.

But the next day, Williams said, several small blood clots were discovered in her lungs. She has a history of pulmonary embolisms, and her anticoagulant regimen had to be stopped after the surgery, the article said, and that led to the clots.

Later, the wound from the operation opened up because of the severe coughing caused by the pulmonary embolism, and according to Vogue, Williams needed another operation when it was discovered that she had a large hematoma in her abdomen, caused by the blood-thinning medication.

Williams then had another procedure where a filter was inserted into a major vein to prevent clots from settling into her lungs, and she had to stay in bed for six weeks after giving birth.

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Published at Thu, 11 Jan 2018 14:42:46 +0000

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