January 13, 2009

Serena officially enters 2009 Family Circle Cup

CHARLESTON, SC - World No. 2 Serena Williams has officially entered the 2009 Family Circle Cup. Serena Williams, a 9-time Grand Slam champion, returns as defending champion as she makes her sixth appearance in Charleston. Williams and Vera Zvonareva are set to headline the Family Circle Cup, a Premier Event on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, scheduled April 11-19, 2009 at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, SC.

"We're thrilled to have both our defending champion and finalist return to lead our player field at this year's Family Circle Cup. These world-class athletes really captivated the crowd in last year's three-set final, and I know our fans will be thrilled to see them return to Charleston," commented Eleanor Adams, Family Circle Cup Tournament Manager. "Serena is one of the most electrifying female athletes in sports today, as well as an overwhelming fan-favorite at this event." Throughout her illustrious career, Serena Williams' accomplishments have made an indelible mark on the world of women's professional tennis.

With 32 singles titles, including nine Grand Slam championships, the most among active players, this 27-year-old former World No. 1 has notched 401 singles wins, nearly $22 million in career earnings, and won US Olympic Gold with her sister Venus in doubles at the 2000 and 2008 Olympic Games. Serena spent eight years in the Top 10, including the 2008 season highlighted by her return to #1 and year-end World No. 2 ranking and third US Open title. "I'm very happy to return to Charleston," commented Serena Williams. "I love the atmosphere at this event and I look forward to the chance to defend my title in April."

Williams was named the 2004 Family Circle / Prudential Financial "Player Who Makes a Difference" for her outstanding contributions of time and energy to worthy charitable causes. Cultivating her philanthropic influence, Williams last November opened a much-needed secondary school in Kenya. Her efforts to bring education to as many children as possible remains an ongoing initiative, with plans for additional schools both domestic and internationally currently in the works. While competing in Charleston, she has participated in many clinics and has made appearances at schools as well as charitable and community events.

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