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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, June 17, 2020

 
Serena Williams

Serena Williams aims to apply home-court advantage when she plays for history and her record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title at the US Open.

Photo credit: US Open Facebook

Serena Williams aims to apply home court advantage as a launching pad to major milestone.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion confirmed she will play the 2020 US Open in a bid to capture her 24th major champion and equal Margaret Court’s all-time record.

More: US Open Will Play, Will Stars Show Up

"I really cannot wait to return to New York and play the US Open 2020," Williams said in a video statement. "I feel like the USTA is going to do a really good job of ensuring that everything is amazing, perfect, and that everyone is safe.

“It's going to be exciting. It's been over six months since a lot of us have played professional tennis."

Serena's star power is vital to a tournament that could be contested without several Top 20 players.

World No. 1 players Novak Djokovic and Ash Barty, reigning US Open champion Rafael Nadal and Wimbledon champion Simona Halep have all expressed concern, and in some cases strong skepticism, about playing in New York City in a coronavirus climate.

The 38-year-old Williams has dropped four consecutive Grand Slam finals, including bowing to Bianca Andreescu in the 2019 US Open final a year after she lost to Naomi Osaka in the 2018 Flushing Meadows final.

It’s been six years since Serena last ruled New York, but the six-time US Open champion will carry a competitive ally into her race for history in August.

The US Open court.

In a zoom call with the media today to confirm the 2020 US Open will begin as scheduled on August 31st, US Open tournament director Stacey Allaster revealed, Laykold, the new US Open surface, has shipped the US Open court surface to Serena, who is training on the new court in her backyard.


Though US Open courts are resurfaced every year before the tournament, this marks the first time in 42 years the Flushing Meadows major is changing surface brands.

“I can confirm the surface provided by Laykold for the 2020 US Open and Western & Southern Open was shipped to Serena’s house,” Allaster told the media. “She’s got a new court in her backyard. So she has been training.

“She will be playing and she’s excited to come back. Like all athletes they’ll make their decision at a time that make sense to them.”

Laykold’s five-year deal as US Open surface begins with the 2020 Western & Southern Open, which will be played at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center starting August 21st followed by the US Open, set for August 31st-September 13th.

Tennis Express

While Williams won’t have New York City’s notoriously vocal fan base supporting her in Flushing Meadows, training time will give her surface familiarity—and possible home-court advantage for a new look US Open.

"I'll certainly miss the fans," Serena added in her video, "just being out there in front of that New York crowd, hearing everyone cheer. I'll really miss that, having got me through those tough matches. This is crazy, but I'm excited."

 

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