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Venus Williams added as wild card for National Bank Open

Wimbledon 2022 - Day Seven - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club

Venus Williams reacts during her Mixed Doubles second round match with Jamie Murray against Jonny O’Mara and Alicia Barnett during day seven of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. Picture date: Sunday July 3, 2022. (Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images)

PA Images via Getty Images

TORONTO -- Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams has been given a wild-card entry into the main draw of the National Bank Open next month.

She will compete in Toronto for the first time since 2019 and return to WTA Tour singles play for the first time since August 2021.

The former world No. 1 and five-time Wimbledon champion last played when she partnered with Jamie Murray of Britain in Wimbledon’s mixed doubles draw earlier this month. Williams is a 41-time WTA singles champion and Olympic gold medalist.

Her sister Serena Williams also is playing in Toronto, marking her first North American hard-court event in two years.

The three-time champion in Toronto last played there in 2019, when she retired because of back spasms in the final against Bianca Andreescu of Canada. Andreescu beat Serena Williams a month later in the U.S. Open final.

Andreescu also received a top-20 wild card for the National Bank Open.

Three more wild cards will be distributed to Canadian players closer to the start of the tournament, which runs Aug. 6-14.