Venus and Azarenka star in San Antonio exhibition match
Tennis legend Venus Williams has returned to action at a doubles exhibition match in San Antonio, teaming up with Victoria Azarenka.
The seven-time Grand Slam champion has been absent from the WTA Tour since the US Open, where she lost her opening match against Greet Minnen in straight sets. Earlier in the year, the 43-year-old had been absent for several months after she picked up an injury at the ASB Auckland Classic in January 2023.
She then returned at the Libema Open, losing to Celine Naef in the first round before competing at Wimbledon. It was at the grasscourt major that she experienced a tough fall in her opening match against Elina Svitolina, subsequently losing the clash in straight sets.
Azarenka: it "was a pleasure" to team up with Williams
In a recent interview, Williams revealed that she was still recovering from her fall at Wimbledon and was planning to return to the WTA Tour in March: "I had a crazy fall at Wimbledon. I just slipped and I was out. I tried my best to recover for the US Open. I did not reach my form so now I am just resting until I get back. I am targeting March, that's when the tournaments go back to the States, so my goal is to be up and running when tournaments come back to the US," she said.
In the meantime, she has taken part in an exhibition match, returning to doubles and playing alongside fellow former World No. 1 Azarenka. The Belarusian player last competed at the 2023 Hong Kong Open in October, where she was forced to retire from her first-round clash with Leylah Fernandez due to injury.
Now, it seems as though the 34-year-old is doing well, as she and Venus enjoyed their time together on the court. "Lots of laughs with V. Was a pleasure," she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. In a video of the match, the duo can be seen fifist-bumpingfter after winning a point.
Throughout her career, Venus saw a huge amount of success in doubles with her sister Serena Williams. In women's doubles, the sisters were undefeated in Grand Slam finals, amassing a total of 14 major titles and three Olympic Gold medals.