Serena Williams Confirms She Will Play at 2020 U.S. Open: 'Cannot Wait to Return to New York'

On Tuesday, the USTA and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the 2020 U.S. Open will carry on as planned

Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova
Serena Williams. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty

Serena Williams is ready to return to professional tennis and play at the 2020 U.S. Open in Queens this August.

On Wednesday, the 23-time Grand Slam champion, 38, spoke in a video message on the tournament's official Twitter account, sharing her excitement.

"This announcement has been on my mind all day, but ultimately, I really cannot wait to return to 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 like everything is amazing and everything is perfect and everyone is safe."

"It's going to be exciting," she added. "It's been over six months since a lot of us have played professional tennis."

On Tuesday, the USTA and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the 2020 U.S. Open will carry on as planned — though without fans.

"We are incredibly excited that Governor Cuomo and New York State have today approved our plan to host the 2020 US Open and 2020 Western & Southern Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center," said USTA Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Mike Dowse.

Continued Dowse, "We recognize the tremendous responsibility of hosting one of the first global sporting events in these challenging times, and we will do so in the safest manner possible, mitigating all potential risks. We now can give fans around the world the chance to watch tennis' top athletes compete for a US Open title, and we can showcase tennis as the ideal social distancing sport."

Cuomo shared his own message about the news, writing, "The @usopen will be held in Queens, NY, without fans from August 31 to September 13."

Continued the governor, "The USTA will take extraordinary precautions to protect players and staff, including robust testing, additional cleaning, extra locker room space, and dedicated housing & transportation."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories


In her message, Williams admitted that she would miss having fans in the audience, but that she was still looking forward to playing.

"I'll certainly miss the fans, don't get me wrong, just being out there in that New York crowd and hearing everyone cheer," the six-time U.S. Open winner said. "I'll really miss that and getting me through some of those tough matches, but this is crazy. I'm excited!"

Though Williams has shared her support of the USTA's decision to continue on with the U.S. Open, some other athletes have criticized the move.

Nick Kyrgios, an Australian tennis star, called the decision "selfish," while Men's No. 1 player Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Rafael Nadal also previously voiced their concerns over playing in August.

Many of the tennis Grand Slams have been canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 Wimbledon tennis championships were canceled, as well as the 2020 Indian Wells and the 2020 Miami Open.

Additionally, the 2020 French Open has been pushed back, and will now be held between September 20 and October 4.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

Related Articles