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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday June 26, 2022

All eyes will be on Serena Williams as the seven-time Wimbledon champion prepares for her 21st appearance at the Championships. What else is new?

Tennis Express

One half of the most dominant sister duo that the sport has ever seen, Serena and her big sister Venus have dominated Wimbledon ever since they stopped foot on the hallowed grounds of the All England Club.

Williams needed four tries to claim her first Wimbledon singles title, but once the floodgates opened in 2002, the American legend would claim the title in seven of her next fourteen appearances.

From 2000 to 2016, 12 of the 17 singles titles on offer at Wimbledon went to either Serena or Venus.

The Venus Rosewater Dish, awarded to the women’s singles champion at Wimbledon, could easily be named the Venus and Serena dish…

Six years removed from her last triumph at SW19, a title seems like a longshot for 40-year-old Serena in 2022 – the 23-time major champion hasn’t played a singles match since she left Centre Court in tears last year, the victim of a cruel hamstring injury in her first-round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

“Wimbledon was tough last year,” Williams told reporters on Saturday. “I felt like last year was tough. I felt like I was injured for most of the year. Then I ripped my hamstring. That was tough. I don't think anyone ever wants to do that. So in general the whole experience was rough.”

When Williams didn’t get healthy in time for last year’s US Open, many wondered if her legendary career might have come to an end.

“I still tried to make New York,” she said. “I gave everything I could, just every day getting ready or trying to make it. But then it's just like, I'm not going to make it. Hung up my racquets for a little bit until I could just heal.”

Not so fast. Williams may have a full life that keeps her busy and engaged off the court, but the lure of her familiar stomping grounds in London was simply too strong.

“I didn't retire,” Williams said. “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.”

When it comes to her thriving company Serena Ventures, which “empowers founders to change the world,” her colleagues will encounter an “out of office” reply when they try to message Serena during the Wimbledon fortnight.

But Williams, who will face France’s Harmony Tan in first-round action on Tuesday at Wimbledon, is clearly as comfortable making power shots in the corporate environment as she is on the tennis court.

“A part of me feels like that is a little bit more of my life now than tournaments,” Williams admits. “When you do have a venture company, you do have to go all in. It definitely takes literally all my extra time. And it's fun. I'm currently out of office for the next few weeks, so if you email me, you'll get the nice 'out of office' reply.”

This week Williams will trade the board room for the grass court, with the goal of doing what she normally does: excel under pressure and defy the odds.

She was asked what an acceptable outcome would be for her at Wimbledon this year, and even though she hasn’t played in a year, her answer was predictable.

“You know the answer to that."

Photo Source: Rob Newell | Camera Sport 


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