SYDNEY, October 10, 2017 (Press Release)
Seven-time Grand Slam champion and world No.5 Venus Williams (USA) will headline the Sydney International women’s field this summer, 20 years since her last appearance at the tournament.
Runner-up to Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario (ESP) in the 1998 women’s singles final, Williams has gone on to win 49 WTA career titles, four Olympic gold medals and seven Grand Slam singles championships
The 37-year-old will take to the court at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centreto kick start her Australian summer in January 2018.
“This was one of the earliest tournaments I ever played and has always held a special place in my heart,” Williams said.
“The last time I played in the Sydney International I was 18-years-old, so a lot has changed in this time.”
Williams’ successful 2017 season started with a finals appearance at the Australian Open, where she fell to sister Serena and has gone on to reach the second week at each of the Grand Slams, storming into the top five in WTA rankings for the first time since 2011.
“I have been playing some really great tennis this year and I feel I’m in a strong position, both physically and mentally, in the lead up to Sydney.
“The Australian summer is always a favourite of mine, I really love the atmosphere the crowds bring and I’m confident in my preparation over the next few months to put on a good show for the Australian fans.”
This year’s tournament will come under the direction of newly-appointed Tennis NSW CEO and Sydney International Tournament Director Lawrence Robertson who welcomed the announcement.
“I am delighted to welcome Venus back to Sydney this January. She has had a remarkable season and her passion and competitive spirit will capture the hearts of tennis fans not only in Sydney but around Australia.
“I’m also proud that for the third consecutive year we are leading the celebration of and remuneration for women’s sport, with prize money for the women’s event topping nearly $800,000.”
New initiatives for Sydney International 2018 include:
· Free entry for kids with any paying adult for all sessions (excluding finals)
· First-ever blockbuster Saturday night finals for both the men and women, providing a star-studded lineup for fans and a showcase of international tennis.
“We are always looking for new and exciting ways to promote and grow our great sport and the introduction of our Kids Go Free offer will provide the next generation of players and fans the chance to see world-class tennis for free,” Robertson added.