Serena Williams says that taking time off from competition won't hurt her game.

The 21-time Grand Slam champion has played just one tournament since mid-September. She sat out the rest of the fall season to rest various injuries after her stunning loss in the U.S. Open semifinals. And she recently pulled out of two events, citing illness.

But the top-ranked Williams looked plenty sharp for most of that one tournament, the Australian Open. She was dominant in her run to the final before she was upset by seventh-seeded Angelique Kerber.

Williams will return to the court Tuesday for an exhibition at Madison Square Garden against good friend Caroline Wozniacki. She said on a conference call Thursday that she didn't miss too much practice time to her bout with the flu.