Williams sisters to play in Family Circle
Published Mon, Jan 30, 2006
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Serena and Venus Williams are returning to the Family Circle Cup.
They will join defending champion Justine Henin-Hardenne at the event, organizers said Monday.
The Belgian beat Elena Dementieva in straight sets last year. Venus won in her debut at the clay-court tournament in 2004 and Serena reached the finals in 2003.
Both sisters are coming off disappointing losses at the Australian Open.
Venus lost to unseeded Tszvetana Pironkova in the first round, while defending champion Serena reached the third round before falling to Daniela Hantuchova.
Venus is currently ranked No. 10 in the world, while Serena dropped 24 spots to No. 39.
"Serena and Venus are world-class ambassadors of the game and have been vital to the success that women's tennis enjoys today," said Robin Reynolds, Family Circle Cup tournament director. "We are pleased to be one of the few tournaments worldwide that will have the opportunity to showcase the talents of these two phenomenal athletes."
Sixth-ranked Henin-Hardenne reached final of the Australian Open against Amelie Mauresmo, but retired with a stomach ailment. She ended Serena's undefeated streak in 2003 to win the Family Circle Cup. The tournament runs from April 10-16.