Serena Williams will return to the big race

Thirty-four minutes after her first round match at Wimbledon last year, Serena Williams led 3-1 over Alexandra Sasnovich. Despite the heavy sticking around her right thigh, Williams looked fine. She was precise. She was powerful. There was hope.

And then, that’s right, her hamstring betrayed. Pain and tears quickly poured down her face.

“With a broken heart,” Williams would say.

At 39 and without a major championship for more than four years filled with injuries, it was fair to wonder if that’s all there is to it.

Would Serena, once Venus’s prodigy little sister, whose family rewrote almost everything about women’s tennis, eventually retire from competitive tennis with her 23 major championships, just one less than Margaret Court’s record of 24?

Was this the end of an incredible run that began on the modest asphalt of East Rancho Dominguez Park – which her father Richard called the Compton Hills Country Club – to the top of one of the world’s oldest and most elite sports?

While she was absent from the subsequent US, Australian and French Open, speculation simply increased.

Well, it turns out, no, she’s not done. At least not yet.

On Tuesday, Serena announced via Instagram that she will return to Wimbledon this summer with an exception.

At 40, Williams will do it again. Maybe for the last time. Maybe not.

Anyway, she’s there to triumph, and if Serena is ever going to curtain, let alone tie or possibly violate Kort’s sign, then it’s probably now or never.

Williams did not win a major at the Australian Open in 2017, where at the age of 35 she became the oldest woman to ever achieve a feat. Since then, she has become a mother and struggles with age – she continues to age while younger players continue to arrive.

Still, on the grass at Wimbledon, and then on the hard court of New York, she performed best lately. She reached the finals of both the 2018 and 2019 tournaments and the U.S. semifinals in 2020 (COVID destroyed Wimbledon in 2020). Just going so far was amazing. She was very competitive.

Serena Williams celebrates her victory against Venus Williams at the Australian Open 2017. To date, this is her last big victory. (Peter Parks / AFP via Getty Images)

However, these are her best events. Throughout her career, she has won Wimbledon and the US Open seven times. This includes a historic 17-year-old triumph at the US Open that ushered in a new era for the sport. That was nearly 23 years ago.

For Serena, this is a victory. She doesn’t need the money. She definitely doesn’t need more fame. Her legacy as great for all time, if not the greatest, is certain. Whatever he pursues is internal.

The longevity of her career probably makes her the best ever. Steffi Graf had a better performance, winning 21 of his 22 majors in a 10-year period from 1987-1996, but the German star also retired at the age of 30. Serena won 10 specialties after that age, redefining the length of her career and what is possible for all athletes.

And while Court has the most majors, 11 of them came to her native Australia from 1960-71, a time when many of the best players didn’t bother to travel to Melbourne to compete. The depth of talent in sports is also incomparable.

Can Serena make another run? Any cold, calculating analysis in it suggests that it is unlikely. Inaction brought her down to 1208 in the world rankings, hence the need for a wild card. No one has seen her in a competitive environment since she failed a Wimbledon set. During this time she did not become younger.

But this is Serena, and none of that ever made sense. Educated as a child by her dream father in Compton, California, she was for a long time Williams ‘other sister, Williams’ younger sister, the only one the coaches had to work with to get a chance to train Venus – who would win on her own. seven specialties.

And yet it was Serena who broke and won the family’s first major with the US Open. And Serena is the one who pushed Venus and outlived almost everyone else.

She won the first against the great Martina Hingis, who was only a year older than her, but stopped winning major tournaments in 1999. The current number one in the world, Iga Sviatek, was born only in 2001.

Serena will take part in the Eastbourne International Tournament this weekend, a England-based turf setting that should give a better indication of what she still has to offer and whether she is healthy enough to survive seven matches. two – week specialty.

Anyway, Serena has to go back to Wimbledon, go back to tennis, come back with trials and tribulations long after everyone else would (and have) shut it down. This is just something to celebrate.

Is there another one in it? two?

Anything is possible. This has always been the story with her.

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