Serena Williams said there were moments when she doubted whether she would return to professional tennis after her leg injury at last year’s Wimbledon.
The 40-year-old returned for the first time since that injury on Tuesday for the doubles tournament at Eastbourne International. Williams and doubles partner Ons Jabeur of Tunisia defeated Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo and Czech player Maria Bouzková in three sets, according to CNN.
After the match, Williams told BBC she felt her future was in doubt while recovering from the injury, which she sustained while facing Aliaksandra Sasnovich at Wimbledon in 2021.
“Absolutely, for sure,” the tennis star said. “I would be dishonest if I said it wasn’t, but now my body feels great.”
Williams told the outlet that she enjoyed playing with Jabeur and added that she is “literally taking it one day at a time” as she prepares for the upcoming Wimbledon tournament. According to the BBC, Williams received a wildcard entry to the Wimbledon singles tournament.
“It’s doubles, I’m only playing half of the court, but I’ve been doing a lot of training and so it definitely feels good. You know what, I’m literally taking it one day at a time,” Williams added. “I really took my time with my hamstring injury, so I’m just not making a ton of decisions after this.”
“It was great out there and so fun to play with Ons – we had a lot of fun. Our opponents played amazing and we were happy to stay in there,” Williams said.
After a 12-month wait for Williams’ return, the 23-time Grand Slam champion shared a cryptic message on Instagram last Tuesday that sparked speculation about an upcoming return.
“SW and SW19,” Williams said in the caption of a photograph of a pair of Nike sneakers and ankle wraps. “It’s a date. 2022 See you there.”
According to the Associated Press, “SW19” is the postal code for the Wimbledon Championships. Wimbledon’s qualifying matches started on Monday in London; the first round of the gentlemen and ladies’ singles tournament begins June 27.
Williams first teased an appearance at Wimbledon in an April post to her Instagram Story featuring Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“We’ve been talking about my comeback, and he’s been hyping me up and getting me ready for Wimbledon,” Williams told her followers of Rodgers. “Can’t wait!”
Williams’ draw in Wimbledon’s singles tournament has yet to be announced.