LONDON: Serena Williams, the dominant force in women’s tennis for the past decade, will return to action after nearly a year’s absence at next week’s Wimbledon warm-up event in Eastbourne, she said on Tuesday.
The 29-year-old American won the last of her 13 grand slam singles titles at Wimbledon last year before a freak foot injury and complications including life-threatening blood clots cast doubt over her career.
Her return to play at the grasscourt event, which begins on Saturday, for the first time since her only appearance on England’s south coast in 1998 is a huge boost for the tournament and the women’s game which has suffered in comparison to the golden era on the men’s side.
”I am so excited to be healthy enough to compete again,” the four-times Wimbledon champion said in a statement.
”These past twelve months have been extremely tough and character building. I have so much to be grateful for. I’m thankful to my family, friends, and fans for all of their support. Serena’s back!”
World number 25 Serena, whose last competitive match was her victory at Wimbledon last year over Vera Zvonareva, has been handed a wildcard by tournament organisers and will join sister Venus in a strong draw which includes newly-crowned French Open champion Li Na of China.
Venus is also returning just in time for Wimbledon after being out injured since the Australian Open. (Reuters)