Venus Williams to play Western & Southern Open as wild card

Venus Williams will play in the upcoming Western & Southern Open after receiving a wild card, the tournament announced Monday.

It is the second hardcourt event Williams will be playing this summer ahead of the US Open, where she also is expected to receive a wild card. The seven-time major champion and former world No. 1 also will first play at next week's Canadian Open in Montreal as a wild card.

Williams, 43, returned to competition last month after being sidelined since January with a hamstring injury sustained in Auckland. She played in three grass-court tournaments, culminating at Wimbledon, and had a 1-3 record.

During her first-round Wimbledon loss against eventual semifinalist Elina Svitolina, Williams suffered a fall that hampered her movement. But despite her disappointment and swirling retirement rumors, Williams said she would learn from the defeat in a social media post the following day.

Since the defeat, Williams has spent time training at the Rafael Nadal Academy in Mallorca in preparation for the hardcourt season.

Williams, currently ranked No. 524 in the world, won her opening-round match at Auckland to open the 2023 season before losing in the second round and missing the next several months with her injury. During the summer hardcourt series in 2022 she failed to win a match in four tournaments played.

The Western & Southern Open main draw gets underway in Mason, Ohio, on Aug. 13. Williams is one of five women who have held the No. 1 ranking competing in the tournament.