Venus Williams and Elina Svitolina have received wildcards for the Rothesay Classic in Birmingham, which gets underway on June 19.
Williams was last seen in action at the ASB Classic in New Zealand in January, where she defeated Katie Volynets 7-6(4), 6-2 in the opening match before going down 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 to Lin Zhu. A hamstring injury has kept her on the sidelines since.
Williams has not been in singles action on grass since 2021, having last competed on the surface at the Wimbledon Championships that year. She did, however, take part in the mixed doubles competition at Wimbledon last year.
The seven-time Grand Slam champion is currently ranked World No. 701 and will be taking part in the Birmingham event for just the second time in her career. In her previous appearance in 2019, she reached the quarterfinals before losing 6-4, 6-3 to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty.
Before the WTA 250 event on grass, Williams also took a wildcard to take part in the Libema Open, 's-Hertogenbosch, which begins on June 12. It will be the former World No. 1's first appearance in the tournament and also her first time competing in the Netherlands.
Svitolina, on the other hand, has spent some time away from the WTA tour on maternity leave. She gave birth to her daughter Skaï last October and returned to action two months ago.
After making early exits at the Charleston Open, two ITF events in Switzerland and Portugal, and the Madrid Open, she put together a semifinal run at the L'Open 35 de Saint-Malo, a WTA 125 event in France.
The former World No. 3 went two steps further last week by winning the Strasbourg Grand Prix. She is currently competing at the French Open, where she has sailed through to the third round.
Svitolina's career-best Birmingham performance came in 2018 when she reached the quarterfinals, where she lost 6-3, 6-2 to Mihaela Buzarnescu.
Venus Williams' 's-Hertogenbosch and Birmingham participation points to Wimbledon ambitions
Venus Williams' decision to take part in the Libema Open and Rothesay Classic Birmingham points to her intention of being in the singles draw at this year's Wimbledon Championships.
Injuries have seen Williams have a very reduced participation on the WTA tour in recent years. She played in only four events last year, nine in 2021, and eight in 2020. She last competed in the singles category at the grass Slam in 2021, when she defeated Mihaela Buzarnescu before losing to Ons Jabeur in the second round.
Wimbledon remains Williams’ most successful Major, with five singles titles and six doubles crowns, alongside sister Serena, to her name.