NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23: Serena Williams attends 2018 Lotte New York Palace Invitational on August 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Lotte New York Palace)

Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal Crack Themselves Up Playing Badminton

A warm-up for the U.S. Open?

The U.S. Open starts on August 27, but before tennis stars Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal get down to business, they had a blast playing badminton. The two squared off on August 23 as part of the Lotte New York Palace Invitational, an annual event at the swanky NYC hotel. Here, a closer look at their shuttlecock drama.

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23: Rafael Nadal attends 2018 Lotte New York Palace Invitational on August 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Lotte New York Palace) Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Lotte New York Palace RETURN SERVE Reigning U.S. Open champ Rafa looks radiant in his blue polo. Nadal is seeded no. 1 on the Open's men's side. NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23: Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams attend 2018 Lotte New York Palace Invitational on August 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Lotte New York Palace) Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Lotte New York Palace INTENSITY Williams — who finished second at Wimbledon in July — is still making her way back to full tennis form after the birth of her daughter and some serious health scares last year. She came to the courtyard ready to play, wearing a "Royal Duchess" hoodie from her own clothing line, a piece that was inspired by her friend Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

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NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23: Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal seen during the 2018 Palace Invitational Badminton Tournament at Lotte New York Palace on August 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage) Gary Gershoff/WireImage STRATEGY Working out their game plan. NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23: Serena Williams attends 2018 Lotte New York Palace Invitational on August 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Lotte New York Palace) Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Lotte New York Palace HILARITY The U.S. Open likely won't be this funny. NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23: Rafael Nadal and Serena Willims at the conclusion of their badminton match during the 2018 Palace Invitational Badminton Tournament at Lotte New York Palace on August 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage) Gary Gershoff/WireImage GOOD SPORTS Congratulating each other at the end of their match, which Williams won in a nail-biter, 13-12. NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23: Venus Williams and Nick Kyrgios attend 2018 Lotte New York Palace Invitational on August 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Lotte New York Palace) Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Lotte New York Palace VENUS RISING Serena's big sister Venus also attended the Invitational and played a match against Aussie tennis star Nick Kyrgios.
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23: Serena Williams and Venus Williams pose during the 2018 Palace Invitational Badminton Tournament at Lotte New York Palace on August 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23: Serena Williams and Venus Williams pose during the 2018 Palace Invitational Badminton Tournament at Lotte New York Palace on August 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
Gary Gershoff/WireImage Gary Gershoff/WireImage NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23: Venus Williams competes during the 2018 Palace Invitational Badminton Tournament at Lotte New York Palace on August 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage) Gary Gershoff/WireImage TAKE A BOW Venus, who's also going to be competing at the U.S. Open and is seeded no. 16 on the women's side, shows off her fine form.



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