Venus Williams back in US Open after being given wild card

NEW YORK (AP) — Venus Williams will be back in the U.S. Open this year after being given a wild card on Wednesday into what could be younger sister Serena’s final tournament.

Venus Williams won back-to-back U.S. Opens in 2000 and 2001, and this year marks 25 years since she reached the 1997 final in Flushing Meadows as a 17-year-old in her first full season on tour.

Now 42, Williams did not play in the U.S. Open last year because of injury, but the seven-time Grand Slam singles champion recently returned to tour after missing nearly a year.

Serena Williams, 40, recently said she is preparing to leave tennis, though she did not specify it would come after the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 29.

Dominic Thiem, the 2020 U.S. Open men’s champion who has since dealt with injuries and fallen to No. 228 in the world ranking, also was granted a wild card by the U.S. Tennis Association.

The USTA also gave a wild card to Sofia Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open champion who didn’t compete in New York last year because of injury, along with fellow Americans CoCo Vandeweghe, Elizabeth Mandlik, Peyton Stearns and Eleana Yu.

Harmony Tan of France — who beat Serena Williams during a run to the fourth round at Wimbledon — and Australian Jaimee Fourlis also received wild cards.

Mandlik, the daughter of past U.S. Open champion Hana Mandlikova, earned hers by winning the U.S. Open wild-card challenge.

On the men’s side, wild cards went to Americans Sam Querrey, Emilio Nava, JJ Wolf, Ben Shelton and Learner Tien, along with Ugo Humbert of France and Australian Rinky Hijikata.

Also Wednesday, 2016 U.S. Open semifinalist Gael Monfils withdrew because of an injury to his right foot sustained last week during his match against Jack Draper in Montreal. Monfils, who missed time earlier this season after a procedure on his right heel, announced he needed further treatment for the injury.

Taro Daniel of Japan moved into the main draw.

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