Serena Williams enters Family Circle Cup - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Serena Williams enters Family Circle Cup

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Serena Williams (File) Serena Williams (File)

CHARELSTON, S.C. -- Serena Williams, former World No. 1 and 2008 Family Circle Cup Champion, has committed to the 2012 Charleston event. Williams, currently standing at World No. 11 in the WTA rankings, joins 2010 Cup champion Samantha Stosur, 2004 Cup Champion Venus Williams, and Vera Zvonareva in a world class player field assembling on Daniel Island. Marking the tournament's 40th year, the Family Circle Cup will be held March 31 – April 8, 2012 at the Family Circle Tennis Center in the Best Tennis Town in America, Charleston, S.C.

"Serena is one of the most popular and recognizable athletes in the world, as well as an overwhelming fan-favorite at this event," said Eleanor Adams, Family Circle Cup Tournament Manager. "We couldn't be happier to welcome another former champion to our player field as we prepare to celebrate our 40th year in women's professional tennis."

Throughout her illustrious 17-year career, Williams has made an indelible mark on the sport of tennis. With 39 singles titles, including thirteen majors - the most among active players, this 30-year-old superstar has notched 501 singles victories. She leads the WTA with over $34.8 million in career earnings, the most of any female tennis player in history, and more than any other female athlete in any sport. Williams has also won Olympic gold for the USA in doubles (w/ Venus Williams) at the 2000 and 2008 games.

In 2012, Williams reached the quarterfinals at Brisbane and the fourth round at the Australian Open. Her 2011 season was highlighted by singles titles at Stanford and Toronto, a fourth round result at Wimbledon, and a finals appearance at the US Open. She also captured the US Open Series Championship with an 18-2 US Open Series record.

"The Family Circle Cup's 40th year celebration is an important milestone in women's tennis," said Serena Williams. "This tournament has a key place in history, so I'm always happy to compete in Charleston."

Williams has made five previous appearances in Charleston where she accumulated $336,540 in prize money, boasts a 12-4 record, and returns to this event with an active five-match win streak in progress, stemming from her 2008 Cup championship. Her Charleston earnings rank her at No. 7 among all-time Family Circle Cup money leaders.

"I've always loved Charleston. The fans are very knowledgeable, and the intimate atmosphere makes this tournament one of my favorites," added Williams.

Cultivating her philanthropic influence, Williams opened a much-needed secondary school in Kenya in 2008. Her efforts to bring education to as many children as possible remains an ongoing initiative through the Serena Williams Foundation, which provides collegiate and entrepreneurial grants to high school students entering college and trade schools, as well as aspiring business owners. She has also become a co-founder of MISSION Skincare™ (missionskincare.com), the first line of products designed by elite athletes designed to meet the demands that athletes face during training and competition. MISSION Skincare™ product sales support the Serena Williams Foundation.

On September 20, 2011, Williams was appointed as UNICEF's newest international Goodwill Ambassador, where she will use her popularity and personal interest in children's issues to support UNICEF's mission to provide a quality education for the most vulnerable children through the Schools for Africa program and the upcoming Schools for Asia initiatives. More information is available on her official web site at SerenaWilliams.com.

For information on Ticket Packages, Individual Session Tickets, Travel Packages, Team Getaways, visit FamilyCircleCup.com/Tickets.

The Family Circle Tennis Center, home of the Family Circle Cup and World TeamTennis Finals Weekend, is a public facility owned by the City of Charleston and operated by Meredith Corporation that also hosts a variety of additional events including concerts, festivals, tennis tournaments and other activities throughout the year. The Tennis Center features a 10,200 seat stadium, Grand Lawn, 17 tennis courts lighted for night play, Pro Shop, and a full service event management staff capable of handling all aspects of an event including ticketing, operations, sales, marketing, public relations, and food & beverage. Charleston, South Carolina was named was named the "No. 1 tourist destination in America" in the 2011 Condé Nast Traveler Reader's Choice Awards, and Charleston was also voted the "Best Tennis Town in America" in a 2010 USTA contest.

Family Circle is the longest running title sponsor of a sporting event in the United States, as well as in all of professional tennis, world-wide. With over 21 million readers, Family Circle is one of the most widely read monthly magazines in America and is one of 14 leading subscription magazines owned by Meredith Corporation. The Family Circle Cup receives four days of live broadcast domestically on ESPN2, and is viewed internationally in over 25 countries, featuring over 200 hours of live and delayed global broadcast time, reaching 8.54 million viewers worldwide.

* Provided by familycirclecup.com

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