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Serena Williams Needed 'To Heal Physically, Mentally' Before Wimbledon Return

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJune 25, 2022

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

There was uncertainty about when, and if, Serena Williams would return to the tennis court for a competitive singles match after a year away from the game, but the all-time great said she needed some time away for multiple reasons before returning for this year's Wimbledon tournament.

"I didn't retire," Williams said, per Tom Hamilton of ESPN. "I just needed to heal physically, mentally. And, yeah, I had no plans, to be honest. I just didn't know when I would come back. I didn't know how I would come back."

"Obviously Wimbledon is such a great place to be, and it just kind of worked out."

Williams had to heal physically because she suffered a torn hamstring during her first-round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich in last year's Wimbledon.

The injury forced her to withdraw, and she did not want it to be her final memory as a player on the sport's most famous stage.

"Yeah, it was a lot of motivation, to be honest," Williams said. "It was always something since the match ended that was always on my mind. So it was a tremendous amount of motivation for that.

"You never want any match to end like that. It's really unfortunate."

Regardless of what happens in this year's tournament, the American is one of the greatest players in tennis history. She has 23 Grand Slam singles titles, which is a record for the Open Era and just one behind Margaret Court's 24—some of which were won before the Open Era.

She also has seven Wimbledon championships on her resume, and her path to an eighth begins with an opening matchup against world No. 113 Harmony Tan.

It won't get easier from there, though, as Williams may have to face 32nd-seeded Sara Sorribes Tormo in the second round and last year's runner-up Karolina Pliskova in the third round should she advance that far.

Williams surely grew accustomed to being a top seed for much of her career, but she is a wild-card entry in this year's Wimbledon and nationally ranked No. 1,024 because she has been away from the game for so long.

An impressive run in the tournament from that position would only add to her legend.

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