Serena Williams' return to singles didn't go as planned with a 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 loss to France's Harmony Tan at Wimbledon on Tuesday, and the 23-time Grand Slam champion is unsure what the future holds.
"That's a question I can't answer," Williams said of a possible return to Wimbledon in the future. "I don't know. Who knows where I will pop up?"
Williams struggled in the first set before bouncing back in the second set with a dominant performance. Williams and Tan battled to a tiebreaker in the third set, but Tan was able to hold on to defeat Williams.
"When I saw the draw, I was really scared," Tan said after the match. "It's Serena Williams -- she's a legend. I was like, 'Oh my god, how can I play?' And if I can win one game or two games, it's really good for me."
Williams had not competed in a singles event since she suffered an injury during a first-round matchup against Aliaksandra Sasnovich at the All England Club in June 2021. She slipped on the grass court and injured her leg.
She teased her return to Wimbledon in April, telling Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Instagram Live:
"We've been talking about my comeback, and he's been hyping me up and getting me ready for Wimbledon. Can't wait!"
The 40-year-old had played her first competitive matches in nearly a year at Eastbourne last week, pairing with Ons Jabeur in doubles. They reached the semifinals but were forced to withdraw after Jabeur suffered an injury.
If Williams does not return to Wimbledon in the future, she'll still go down as one of the best competitors at the All England Club, having won the major tournament seven times. Steffi Graf also won the event seven times, but Martina Navratilova has won it a record nine times.
The next major event in the tennis circuit comes in August at the US Open in New York City. It's unclear if Williams will compete in the tournament, though, on Tuesday, she gave reporters an idea of which way she's leaning.
"There's definitely lots of motivation to get better and to play at home," Williams told reporters.