Tennis-Serena navigates doubles duty in U.S. Open calendar

By Thomson Reuters Aug 30, 2022 | 6:08 PM

By Amy Tennery

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Serena Williams faces a busy schedule in her Flushing Meadows farewell as she takes on second-seed Anett Kontaveit on Wednesday and brings her sister act back to the U.S. Open doubles on Thursday.

The 23-times Grand Slam singles winner said she would retire sometime after the tournament and enjoyed a great reception with celebrities packed in the stands for her first-round win over Danka Kovinic on Monday in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

She is not cruising into the sunset, however, and will compete in the doubles with her sister Venus at the year’s final major for the first time since 2014.

“It was Serena’s idea. She’s the boss, so do whatever she tells me to do,” said Venus, 42, who lost in the opening round of her singles to Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck on Tuesday.

“We have had some great wins. It would be nice to add some more.”

The twice U.S. Open doubles champions will play Czech duo Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova. They lost in the quarter-final of their last U.S. Open doubles draw in 2014 but have a pristine 14-0 record in Grand Slam doubles finals.

“I feel like it’s been very important for her to be a part of this. She’s my rock. I’m super excited to play with her and just do that again. It’s been a long time,” Serena told reporters.

The 40-year-old will hope to have enough left in the tank after another primetime affair on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday, with second-ranked Estonian Kontaveit among the favourites to go all the way – and end Williams’s farewell bash.

The 26-year-old won in St Petersburg and reached the finals in Qatar and Hamburg this year, flattening first-round foe Jaqueline Cristian of Romania 6-3 6-0 on the opening night in New York. The pair have never played before.

“I’m really going to enjoy the atmosphere being out there against the greatest player of all time,” Kontaveit told reporters.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Toby Davis)