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Venus Williams added as wild card for National Bank Open

July 20, 2022 GMT
FILE - Venus Williams, left, celebrates winning against her sister Serena, right, after a match on the opening day of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Dec. 27, 2018. Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams has been given a wild-card entry into the main draw of the National Bank Open next month. Her sister Serena Williams also is playing in Toronto. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)
FILE - Venus Williams, left, celebrates winning against her sister Serena, right, after a match on the opening day of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Dec. 27, 2018. Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams has been given a wild-card entry into the main draw of the National Bank Open next month. Her sister Serena Williams also is playing in Toronto. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)
FILE - Venus Williams, left, celebrates winning against her sister Serena, right, after a match on the opening day of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Dec. 27, 2018. Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams has been given a wild-card entry into the main draw of the National Bank Open next month. Her sister Serena Williams also is playing in Toronto. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)
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FILE - Venus Williams, left, celebrates winning against her sister Serena, right, after a match on the opening day of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Dec. 27, 2018. Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams has been given a wild-card entry into the main draw of the National Bank Open next month. Her sister Serena Williams also is playing in Toronto. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)
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FILE - Venus Williams, left, celebrates winning against her sister Serena, right, after a match on the opening day of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Dec. 27, 2018. Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams has been given a wild-card entry into the main draw of the National Bank Open next month. Her sister Serena Williams also is playing in Toronto. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)

TORONTO (AP) — Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams has been given a wild-card entry into the main draw of the National Bank Open next month.

She will compete in Toronto for the first time since 2019 and return to WTA Tour singles play for the first time since August 2021.

The former world No. 1 and five-time Wimbledon champion last played when she partnered with Jamie Murray of Britain in Wimbledon’s mixed doubles draw earlier this month. Williams is a 41-time WTA singles champion and Olympic gold medalist.

Her sister Serena Williams was on the official entry list released last week for Toronto, which would mark her first North American hard-court event in two years, and comes of the heels of her first-round exit at Wimbledon in June. Asked after that defeat whether she would play again, the 40-year-old Williams said she didn’t know.

The three-time champion in Toronto last played there in 2019, when she retired because of back spasms in the final against Bianca Andreescu of Canada. Andreescu beat Serena Williams a month later in the final at the U.S. Open, for which Toronto is considered a tuneup event.

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Andreescu also received a top-20 wild card for the National Bank Open.

Three more wild cards will be distributed to Canadian players closer to the start of the tournament, which runs Aug. 6-14.

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