Venus Williams begins another year chasing top honors on the WTA circuit with the ASB Classic just a few weeks away, saying her passion for the game has not diminished.
"I've been working hard in the gym and getting back on the court," Williams said. "I just love the game, I really do. I love the challenge. It's been such a part of my life that it's hard to imagine life without it."
Williams said she is excited about her return to Auckland and the rest of the season.
"I'm just gearing up for 2017, like I'm sure everybody else is."
Williams won in Auckland last year and made the final in 2013.
"I am so excited to come back to Auckland, which is one of my favorite stops on the circuit."
Her sister Serena is also competing.
"It will be nice to have Serena there as well this year. Being in Auckland will be a fantastic way to start 2017 and I am really looking forward to it."
There had been talk that the Rio de Janeiro Olympics could have been the last tournament for the world number 17, but she has vowed to stick with the tour until 2018 and has hinted at playing through to the Tokyo Games in 2020.