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Serena Williams ‘ready to go’ after time off, faces Caroline Wozniacki at Madison Square Garden

Serena Williams returns against Spain's Garbine Muguruza

Serena Williams returns against Spain's Garbine Muguruza during the women's singles final on day twelve of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 11, 2015 Credit: AFP/Getty Images / GLYN KIRK

When Serena Williams takes on Caroline Wozniacki in the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night, it will give the tennis public a rare glimpse of the world’s No. 1 player.

Since her shocking loss to Roberta Vinci in the semifinals of the U.S. Open last September, an upset that cost her a chance at the calendar year Grand Slam, Williams has played in only one tournament, the Australian Open in January, where she lost to Angelique Kerber in the final. Last fall she pulled out of tournaments in the Far East and this year she pulled out of a tournament before the Australian with a knee injury and in February had to pass on an event in Qatar because of the flu.

So, does this mean that her exhibition match on Tuesday against close friend Wozniacki means just a little more?

“I feel this is a great opportunity for me to see how I’m feeling physically, which I’ve been doing pretty good,” Williams said Thursday on a conference call. “Caroline and I always take exhibitions seriously because we want to have fun and give the crowd a great show, but at the same time we want to get some good training and good practice against ourselves. I haven’t played a lot but I did pretty good in Australia and I’m hoping to build on that and do a little better.”

Other than her loss in Australia, Williams’ public profile since last year’s Open has been chasing down a man who stole her iPhone at a San Francisco restaurant last November and being named Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated. Presumably, she’s been training hard.

“I was ready to go in Australia, I’ll be ready to go today, ready to go tomorrow, and I will definitely be ready to go Tuesday,” said Williams, who at 34 maintains she’s still going strong. “There’s nothing that can stop me right now besides me.”

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