Miami, Mar 29: Serena and Venus Williams plan to play for the US Fed Cup team in the World Group playoff tie next month against Italy, Serena said Saturday.
Italy will host the best-of-five match tie on a clay court in Brindisi April 18-19. The two nations are fighting for a place in the tournament's top tier.
"We deserve to be back in," Serena Williams said Saturday as she opened her title defence at the Miami Open.
"We have some of the best players in the world. We should be in the World Group A and competing for the title."
The United States dropped out of the World Group in 2014. Italy, meanwhile, are facing relegation for the first time since 2008 after winning the title in 2009, 2010 and 2013.
Led by the Williams sisters, the USA beat Argentina 4-1 in Buenos Aires last month to advance to the playoff round with a chance to return to the World Group in 2016.
The United States have won the Fed Cup 17 times, but their most recent triumph in the international tournament was in 2000.
Williams wins delayed Miami opener
Serena Williams showed no sign of knee trouble as she began her quest for an eighth Miami title on Saturday with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Monica Niculescu.
The world number one and top seed, who had battled past the Romanian in her opener at Indian Wells, was later forced out of the tournament in California with a knee injury, forfeiting her quarter-final match there eight days ago. AFP