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Serena Williams starts US Open preparations, installs new surface at home



CHENNAI: Last week, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced that the US Open will be held from August 31-September 13 without fans amid the Covid-19 pandemic and it drew mixed responses from the top players.

While Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have voiced their reservations about competing in the tournament, there were others who confirmed their presence. Among them was 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams.

“I really cannot wait to return to New York and play the US Open 2020,” the six-time US Open champion said in a video posted by USTA. “I feel like the USTA is going to do a really good job of ensuring that everything is amazing and everyone is safe,” she added.

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The 2019 US Open runners-up Serena is in search of her record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title. And she has already started her preparations by installing the new surface at her home on which this year’s US Open will be played.

For the first time since 1978, the US Open will use a different court manufacturer – switching from DecoTurf to Laykold – and the tournament director Stacey Allaster revealed Serena’s intent. “I can confirm the surface provided by Laykold for the 2020 US Open and Western & Southern Open was shipped to Serena’s house. She’s got a new court in her backyard. So she has been training,” said Allaster.

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This will certainly give Serena an edge over others. While most players will hardly get a chance to practise and adapt to the new surface before the tournament, Serena will already have trained for two months in the lead up to the event and get accustomed to the bounce and pace of the surface. No wonder then that Serena is absolutely serious about winning her home Slam after finishing runner-up to Bianca Andreescu and Naomi Osaka in the 2019 and 2018 US Open respectively.