Mon, 15 Aug 2022

London [UK], June 26 (ANI): Serena Williams' eagerly-awaited return to the Wimbledon will be against French debutant Harmony Tan in the first round of the Grand Slam event as the American star returned to singles after a year out.

The early focus at the Grand Slam event will be on 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Williams, who has fallen to 1,204th in the world rankings and is currently unseeded for the Wimbledon, which starts on Monday.

She won the last of her seven Wimbledon singles titles in 2016 but reached the final in 2018 and 2019 after returning to the court after having a baby. Her last Grand Slam singles crown came at the Australian Open in 2017.

Talking at the pre-tournament press conference, Williams while talking about last year's exit at All England Club said: "You never want any match to end like that. It was definitely something that's always been on the top of my mind. It was a tremendous amount of motivation.""Wimbledon was tough last year. I felt like I was injured for most of the year, then I ripped my hamstring. I don't think anyone ever wants to do that. So in general the whole experience was rough.""I didn't retire. I just needed to heal physically, mentally. Hung up my rackets for a little bit until I could just heal. I had no plans. I just didn't know when I would come back," she added.

Williams finds herself in the champion-loaded top half alongside 2017 winner Garbine Muguruza, two-time victor Petra Kvitova and 2019 champion Simona Halep, while last year's runner-up Karolina Pliskova looms as a possible third-round opponent.

"Every match is hard," said Williams. "You can't underestimate anyone or any match any day. But I was super happy to have the opportunity to practise on Centre Court. It was good for me to get that out of my system because the last moment I had on Centre Court was probably not my best."There have been so many wonderful days since her Wimbledon debut in 1998, when she reached the third round as a 16-year-old. But it is in the nature of things that those wonderful days are becoming fewer. (ANI)

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