Serena Williams is going to play at Wimbledon, after all. The All England Club announced on Tuesday that Williams had been given a wild card for singles, marking her return to the Grand Slam tournament after a year of absence.
The professional era record holder of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, and a major star that tennis has never seen, will chime in by playing doubles in a smaller grasscourt event first, in association with Ons Jabeur in Eastbourne, England, next week.
The main draw match will start at Wimbledon on June 27.
Williams has not competed anywhere since sustaining an injury during the first set of her first-round match at the All England Club in 2021. Her name did not appear on the women’s singles entry list released by the grasscourt Grand Slam earlier this month. .
But Williams was among six women to secure a place in Tuesday’s singles draw, along with five British female players: Katie Poulter, Judy Borg, Sonai Kartal, Yoriko Miyazaki and Katie Swann.
The stage is waiting.
– Wimbledon (@wimbledon) June 14, 2022
The All England Club said two more women would get invitations ‘in due course’.
Seven of the eight men’s berths have also been announced, including one for three-time champion Stan Wawrinka.
Earlier in the day, Williams posted a photo of her white shoes on what appeared to be a grass field and the message was: “SW and SW19. It’s a date. 2022. See you there. Let’s go.”
“SW” is her initials, of course, and “SW19” is the zip code for Wimbledon.
The 40-year-old American has won seven of her singles titles at Wimbledon, the first in 2002 and the most recent in 2016. Williams was runner-up there in 2018 and 2019 (the tournament was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.).
In 2021, Williams lost a foothold on smooth grass and then tripped her right leg, leading to her second mid-game retirement in any Grand Slam tournament of her career and her first since 1998.
With little activity since then, Williams – who reached the number one spot for the first time in July 2002 – ranked 1208 in the WTA rankings this week. That is why it was not automatically placed at Wimbledon.
While Williams was sidelined, first Ash Party and then Ega Swiatek climbed into the left hole due to her long absence. Barty won Wimbledon last year and the Australian Open last January to solidify her grip on the top seed, but retired abruptly at the age of 25 in March.
This allowed Swiatek to rise to the top spot, and she cemented that new status with a 35-game winning streak that included winning her second French Open Cup this month.
That streak unbeaten by one, surpasses the 34 games that brought Williams together in 2013 and is equal to one by Williams’ older sister, Venus, for the longest run since 2000.
Williams’ addition to the arc at the All England Club adds a great story to this year’s tournament, which would have been filled with things, including the banning of players from Russia and Belarus due to the invasion of Ukraine, the removal of rating points by the WTA and ATP tours, the centenary For the opening of the central stadium and the addition of play scheduled for the middle of the week Sunday for the first time.