Venus Williams will headline the Sydney International in January to kick off her 2018 season, returning to the tournament after a 20-year absence.

The 37 year old American veteran shows no signs of slowing down and enjoyed one of her best seasons this year, making the final of Wimbledon and the Australian Open and the semis at the US Open.

“This was one of the earliest tournaments I ever played and has always held a special place in my heart,” Williams said of Sydney in a statement issued through the organisers.

“The last time I played in the Sydney International I was 18 years old, so a lot has changed in this time.”

Williams’ stellar year saw her return to the world top five for the first time since 2011, the year she was diagnosed with strength-sapping Sjogren’s Syndrome.

She said she was still driven to succeed.

The 2018 event, a warm-up for the Australian Open, runs from January 7-13.

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