Venus and Serena Williams will face off in an exhibition at MCI Center on Dec. 8 as part of a three-city tour that takes them to Seattle, Cleveland and the nation's capital to promote tennis and benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities, as well as a local charity at each stop.
Billed as "an exciting night of tennis and entertainment," the McDonald's Williams Sisters Tour will feature the sisters facing off on court, as well as a performance by jazz saxophonist Mike Phillips. Before the show, the sisters will visit the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center for a free community outreach event in which children from the Washington area will be invited to learn about the game. The center has been designated as the local beneficiary of the event.
The tour will open Nov. 17 in Seattle, stops in Cleveland on Dec. 1 and concludes in Washington one week later.
It will cap a season in which the sisters added to their Grand Slam resumes while battling nagging injuries.
Venus, 25, won her third Wimbledon title in July but failed to reach the final of any other Slam.
Serena, 24, opened 2005 by winning the Australian Open to collect her seventh singles title in a Grand Slam event. She withdrew from the French Open with an ankle injury, lost in the third round at Wimbledon and fell to Venus in the fourth round of the U.S. Open. After losing in the first round of the China Open to the world's 127th-ranked player, Serena announced earlier this month that she was withdrawing from her remaining 2005 WTA tour events to focus on regaining her fitness and form to defend her Australian Open title in 2006. Playing offseason exhibitions against Venus, Serena said, will help her gauge her recovery.
-- Liz Clarke