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Two-time Dubai Tennis Championships winner Venus Williams has been granted a wildcard for this event which begins next week.

In a surprising twist of events, Venus’ younger sister, world number one Serena Williams, is taking a backseat in a series of tournaments in the next coming weeks – skipping this week’s Qatar Open and the Indian Wells tournament which begins early March. Venus Williams will be having a busy couple of weeks in a bid to improve her ranking which is currently 42.

The 33-year old American might be making this trip to Dubai for the last time this year as reports have started to go around that she is considering retirement soon. However, the seven-time Grand Slam champion said that she still loves to compete and might stay in the game until the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Williams was diagnosed back in 2011 with an auto-immune disease called Sjogren’s Syndrome but she’s not letting this medical condition hinder her from competing on tour. Earlier this year, she reached the final of the ASB Classic in Auckland but lost in the first round of the Australian Open.

“Venus Williams is one of the greatest players of this century and it is with great pleasure that we welcome her back to Dubai,” said Colm McLoughlin, executive vice-chairman of tournament owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free. “She has given us wonderful entertainment in her many previous visits to Dubai and, despite the problems she has suffered with her health, she continues to demonstrate that she is one of the toughest competitors in the game.”

“Venus Williams has been a great attraction for many years wherever she plays and we are delighted to see her return to Dubai. Despite her being such an accomplished champion, the entry list for the tournament is so strong that her current ranking did not qualify her for direct entry into the main draw, and we are pleased to offer her a wild card,” said Salah Tahlak, the Dubai Tennis Championships Tournament Director.

The Dubai Tennis Championships 2014 will feature past champions such as Williams, defending champion Petra Kvitova, 2012 winner Agnieszka Radwanska and 2011 titlist Caroline Wozniacki.

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