Serena Williams implies Wimbledon return, enters lead-up tournament

Serena Williams will return to tournament tennis for the first time in nearly a year next week, implying she will play at Wimbledon later this summer.

Williams has not competed anywhere since getting injured during the first set of her first-round match at the All England Club a year ago. And her name did not appear on the women’s singles entry list released by the grass-court Grand Slam tournament earlier this month.

But on Tuesday, Williams posted a photo of her white shoes on what appears to be a grass court and the message: “SW and SW19. It’s a date. 2022. See you there. Let’s Go.”

“SW” are her initials, of course, and “SW19” is the postal code for Wimbledon.

Later Tuesday, the Eastbourne International tournament, a Wimbledon lead-up event next week, announced Williams will play doubles with Tunisian Ons Jabeur.

The All England Club is scheduled to announce wild-card invitations on Wednesday. It’s possible Williams could be given spots in the singles and doubles draws.

The 40-year-old American has won seven of her Open Era-record 23 major singles championships at Wimbledon, most recently in 2016.

Williams was the runner-up there in 2018 and 2019 (the tournament was canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic).

In 2021, Williams lost her footing on the slick grass and then her right leg buckled, leading to just the second mid-match retirement at any Grand Slam tournament of her career and first since 1998.

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