WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Serena Williams is using her special injury-protected No. 1 ranking to get into the U.S. Open field.
She is ranked 172nd this week, and only the top 105 players have been granted direct entry into the field for the year's last major championship, which starts Aug. 29 in New York.
But because Williams was sidelined more than six months by a series of health issues, she has the right to use her special ranking to enter up to eight tournaments, including one Grand Slam.
"I have nothing to lose," Williams said Wednesday at a news conference in New York City before a World Team Tennis event. "I think that's when people are the most dangerous."
The U.S. Tennis Association announced Wednesday that the provisional field for the U.S. Open has 97 of the top 100 women in the WTA rankings, including two-time defending champion Kim Clijsters, Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and French Open champion Li Na.
Williams said she expects to play in upcoming WTA tournaments at Stanford, Toronto and Cincinnati to get into shape.
"It was really awful to miss the Open last year," Williams said. "My goal is to make sure I'm really fit. It's the longest I've taken ever taken off from tennis, so it's a challenge."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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