Defending champion Serena Williams is returning for the 2013 Family Circle Cup, tennis tournament officials announced Thursday.

“The Family Circle Cup is one of my favorite tournaments to play on the WTA Tour,” Williams said in a statement. “I love the great fans, the tournament history and everything Charleston has to offer on and off the court. I’m definitely looking forward to defending my title there this spring.”

Williams, a fan favorite and the No. 2 ranked player in the world, owns 15 Grand Slam singles titles and 13 Grand Slam doubles titles.

“It’s always exciting to have a past champion return to defend her title,” said tournament manager Eleanor Adams. “And when that champion is Serena Williams, one of the most famous athletes in the world — we know our fans will be excited. Serena plays well in Charleston, and we’re looking forward to welcoming her back for a sixth time.”

The Family Circle Cup is set for March 30-April 7 on Daniel Island. Venus Williams and Samantha Stosur, also defending champions, previously committed for this year.

A Williams banner, per champion tradition, will be hung on the exterior of the stadium today.

Williams has made six previous appearances in Charleston where she boasts a 17-4 record. Williams last April defeated Lucie Safarova, 6-0, 6-1, in the Family Circle Cup final. She also won the tournament title in 2008, downing Vera Zvonareva in three sets.

For ticket information, visit the stadium ticket office, go to or call (800) 677-2293.