Dubai: Serena Williams' bid to extend her phenomenal career into her 33rd year will take a tentative but crucial step forward when she unexpectedly lines up at the head of the field for the Dubai Open which starts on Monday.
Tennis' iconic female had planned to give the popular and lucrative tournament a miss until a back injury at last month's Australian Open altered the shape of her year. She needs to prove that it won't alter the shape of her career either.
Serena has already confounded countless predictions by recovering from a hematoma and a life-threatening pulmonary embolism, and improbably regaining the world number one ranking a year ago. But injuries at this age, especially back injuries, can be a cause for anxiety.