Serena Williams to play at Auckland Classic in run-up to 2020 Australian Open

  • Williams announced she will warm-up for the Australian Open at the Auckland Classic, a tournament that has mixed memories for the American superstar.

  • Williams slumped to a shock second-round loss in her only previous appearance in New Zealand in 2017, lashing out at windy conditions.

  • Currently ranked eighth in the world, the 37-year-old said she wanted to show New Zealanders what she could do on the court.

Wellington: Serena Williams announced on Tuesday she will warm-up for January's Australian Open at the Auckland Classic, a tournament that has mixed memories for the American superstar.

Williams slumped to a shock second-round loss in her only previous appearance in New Zealand in 2017, lashing out at windy conditions she described as some of the "least favourite" she had ever experienced.

 Serena Williams to play at Auckland Classic in run-up to 2020 Australian Open

File image of Serena Williams. AP

But she went on to win the Australian Open later that month, claiming the most recent of her 23 majors to pass Steffi Graf's Open-era benchmark of 22.

Williams also announced her engagement to Alexis Ohanian while in New Zealand and it later emerged she was pregnant with her first child while competing at the tournament.

Currently ranked eighth in the world, the 37-year-old said she wanted to show New Zealanders what she could do on the court.

"Oh man, I want to win that title so bad," she said in a statement.

"Last time I was there I had so much going on and although I fought through to win my first match, I know I didn't play to my level."

Since her 2017 triumph at Melbourne Park, Williams has been chasing a 24th Grand Slam to match Australian Margaret Court's record.

Williams is battling back problems ahead of the US Open that forced her to retire from warm-up tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati.

Updated Date: Aug 20, 2019 08:41:58 IST