The last time we saw Serena Williams on a tennis court at a Grand Slam she waved in appreciation to the crowd at Wimbledon who cheered her off court following an injury in the opening few games against Aliaksandra Sasnovich with the American in tears.
Since then we haven’t seen Serena on the court until now, almost a full twelve months have past. Serena’s coach Patrick has moved onto Simona Halep and his recent revelations were announced days before the first wildcard which I believe were far from coincidental with the Frenchman saying:
“I asked her if she wanted to go to Roland Garros. She told me she didn’t know. It was six weeks before the event. I told her I was waiting for her on Monday for training and if she didn’t come I would consider myself free.”
Serena is in doubles action with Ons Jabeur in Eastbourne ahead of Wimbledon to get some practice and match rhythm under her belt but not in singles just in doubles.
It is unknown but her post on Instagram did include the following tags of her hitting partner Jarmere Jenkins, Derick Pierson her trainer and Eric Hechtman who is the coach of sister Venus Williams but we haven’t seen Venus since August last year.
There is no stretch of the imagination that Serena is here to make up the numbers she is here to compete but this is her biggest challenge.
To have not have played a singles match in twelve months and turned up to a major is tough. Serena has a wildcard and it is a possibility she plays a seeded player in the opening rounds which makes life more difficult.
No one has her experience and that will count for a lot, I am a massive fan of Serena and I’m over the moon to see she will play at least one more Wimbledon but I’m also in a realistic camp of how difficult this is without having played in singles.
The doubles in Eastbourne will help but how ready is she? I imagine a lot of work has gone in during the last few months to prepare for this moment and I hope for Serena it is another wonderful chapter to her story.
I don’t think Serena turns up without thinking she could win this. There will be tough challenges in the field and getting into the match rhythm will be a big ask but not out of the question.
Remember in 2010 Serena said at Wimbledon – “If I’m still playing at 38 I want you to escort me off court. There’s no way I need to be out here at 38.”
At 40, she’s back.