Tournament stirs nostalgia in Serena 

click to enlarge Jelena Jankovic
  • Jelena Jankovic

Though Wimbledon is barely over, tennis’s top female stars are already gearing up for their next big tournament, as the Bank of the West Classic kicks off today at Stanford.

Serena Williams — the tournament’s biggest draw fresh off winning her fifth Wimbledon singles title and fifth doubles title with her sister, Venus — will receive a much-needed first-round bye, as will Dominika Cibulkova, Marion Baratoli and Jelena Jankovic.

The Serbian Jankovic was already in the Bay Area on Saturday to assist with the draw, and said having a bye will help after the quick turnaround between Wimbledon and the Bank of the West Classic.

“That helps me because of the jet lag,” she said. “It’s 9 hours difference from Europe so it obviously helps to get a few more days to adapt and to train and feel good before my first match.”

The 27-year-old former world No. 1 said playing in this tournament comes with a wave of nostalgia for her as she makes her return after a two-year absence.

“I was thinking when I came here a couple days ago I was here when I was 16 years old and it was my second-biggest tournament that I’d ever played,” she said. “So I always remember that and have good memories of playing here.”

With the qualifying rounds completed over the weekend, match play will begin today at 11 a.m. at Stanford’s Taube Family Tennis Stadium. The singles finals for both singles and doubles are scheduled for Sunday.

In it’s 42nd year, the Bank of the West Classic is the longest-running, women-only tennis tournament, according to its website. Tennis legend Billie Jean King won the first installment in 1971, and Serena Williams, whose first match is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, will defend the crown she won at this event last year.

Bank of the West Classic

  • WHEN: Today-Sunday
  • WHERE: Taube Family Tennis Stadium, Stanford
  • TOP SEEDS: No. 1 Serena Williams, No. 2 Marion Bartoli, No. 3 Dominika Cibulkova, No. 4 Jelena Jankovic
  • INFO: www.bankofthewestclassic.com
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