Venus Williams hopeful for return before US Open

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In this May 26, 2013, file photo, Venus Williams, of the United States, reacts after missing a return against Poland’s Urszula Radwanska in their first round match of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros stadium in Paris. Williams has pulled out of Wilmbledon because of a lower baback, her agent Carlos Fleming said, Tuesday, June 18, 2013. Williams, who turned 33 on Monday, was bothered by her back during a first-round loss at the French Open last month. AP FILE PHOTO

WASHINGTON  — Don’t count out Venus Williams for a U.S. Open appearance.

That is, if her recovery from a lower back injury that forced the former world No. 1 to skip Wimbledon allows her to play in a tune-up event before the next grand slam.

The 33-year-old missed Wimbledon after 16 consecutive appearances. Williams last played in May when she lost in the first round of the French Open.

The injury also prevented Williams from rejoining the Washington Kastles, the World Team Tennis franchise she played for last season. She spoke with the media before the two-time defending champion Kastles’ season opener, attended by first lady Michelle Obama and Billie Jean King.

“I’m feeling better, I’ve been working hard and rehabbing,” Williams said. “I just have to take my time until I feel 100 percent. It’s just difficult to play tennis when you have an injury. It’s hard to be confident when you’re not prepared.

“I’m going to wait until I’m prepared and hopefully come back some time before the U.S. Open.”

The final grand slam of the year begins Aug. 26.

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