‘It’s a date’: Serena Williams to play Wimbledon after year-long absence

The 40-year-old has not played a match since last year’s Championships but has been handed a wildcard for the main draw

Serena Williams Plans to Return to Wimbledon in 2022

Serena Williams is set to play at this year’s Wimbledon after receiving a wildcard for the singles main draw, confirming the news that the 23-time grand slam champion will make a comeback this summer after a year-long absence from the sport.

Williams, who turns 41 in September, has not played at a tournament since the previous Championships 12 months ago but indicated in a post on Instagram on Tuesday that she was set to return. “SW and SW19. It’s a date. 2022, see you there,” the seven-time Wimbledon champion wrote.

Williams then received one of six initial wildcard spots granted by the All England Club and will be included in the main draw when it is conducted on the Friday before the tournament, which starts on 27 June.

Before then, it has been confirmed that the American will make her comeback at the Rothesay International tournament in Eastbourne next week as part of a doubles pairing with the world No 4 Ons Jabeur.

“I am excited to return to the Rothesay International Eastbourne in England and to be back on the grass - a surface that has been so good to me throughout my career,” Williams said in a press release from the tournament. “Eastbourne has a unique charm that you don’t see anywhere else on tour and I’m looking forward to playing in front of the fans again.”

Williams was forced to retire from her first-round match with Aliaksandra Sasnovich last year due to a leg injury and has not featured on the WTA Tour since. She was not included on the entry list for Wimbledon published by the All England Club earlier this month and despite her ranking falling to 1208 in the world over the past year, she was eligible for a wild-card spot.

Williams last missed Wimbledon in 2017 when she was pregnant with her daughter Alexis Olympia. She made consecutive finals appearances at the tournament in 2018 and 2019, where she was beaten by Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep. Only Martina Navratilova has won more Wimbledon singles titles than Williams, who tied Steffi Graf’s record of seven with her last victory in 2016.

Elsewhere, the remainder of the wildcard spots in the women’s singles were taken by British players. Katie Boulter was joined by Jodie Burrage, Sonay Kartal, Yuriko Miyazaki and Katie Swan, while in the men’s draw Liam Broady, Jay Clarke, Alastair Gray, Paul Jubb and Ryan Peniston were granted spots.

The remaining places were taken by three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka and the Dutch player Tim Van Rijthoven, who unexpectedly won his first ATP Tour event on Sunday by beating world No 1 Daniil Medvedev in the final of the Libema Open.

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