Serena Williams will have her work cut out for her when the Toronto Open begins next week as the 23-time Grand Slam champion begins

her hard court preparations for the upcoming US Open championship.

If Williams can get past the qualifier in her first-round match, she will face either Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic

or savvy veteran and former world number one Victoria Azarenka in the second round

Williams' brutal quarter of the draw released on Friday also includes current world number one Iga Swiateka,

four-time major champion Naomi Osaka and Canadian teenage sensation Leylah Fernandez.

Three-time event winner and finalist only in 2019, she will not be seeded this time.

The American, who turns 41 next month, returned to action after a year out at Wimbledon in June,