Serena Williams will have plenty of work to do when the Toronto Open begins next week as the 23-time Grand Slam champion begins her preparations for the upcoming US Open.
If Williams can get past the first-round qualifier, she will face either Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic or savvy veteran and former world number one Victoria Azarenka in the second round.
Williams’ tight quarter of the draw, released on Friday, also includes current world number one Iga Swientek, four-time major champion Naomi Osaka and Canadian teenage sensation Leila Fernandez.
A three-time tournament winner and finalist in 2019, she will not be seeded this time around.
The American, who turns 41 next month, returned to action after a year off the court at Wimbledon in June, where she suffered a second straight first-round exit on the grass court, which she has won seven times.
The National Bank Open main draw in Toronto begins on August 15, and Williams is expected to play in the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati before heading to New York for the US Open, which starts on August 29.