The 2020 U.S. Open will occur at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center without fans because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the tournament's top star will be in New York to do more than watch the action unfold.
Via a recorded message, Serena Williams announced that she will compete at an Open unlike any in recent memory.
"I really cannot wait to return in New York and play the U.S. Open 2020," Williams said. "I feel like the USTA is going to do a really good job of ensuring everything is amazing, and everything is perfect, and everyone is safe. It's going to be exciting. It's been over six months since a lot of us have played professional tennis."
After pausing for a moment, Williams continued:
"I'll certainly miss the fans, don't get me wrong, just being out there and that New York crowd and hearing everyone cheer. I'll really miss that getting me through some of those tough matches."
The six-time Open champion last hoisted the trophy in the Big Apple in 2014. The holder of 23 career Grand Slam titles remains one shy of tying the record held by Margaret Court.
The Open runs from Aug. 31 through Sept. 13 and will be the first Grand Slam tournament since the uncontrolled virus outbreak suspended tennis seasons in March.
ESPN.com added that Roland Garros will host the main draw of the postponed French Open from Sept. 27 to Oct. 11, a week later than originally thought.
The Wimbledon Championships were canceled in April.