Serena Williams had doubts about her playing career before making a victorious comeback

Serena Williams had doubts about her playing career before making a victorious comeback

Serena Williams marked her comeback with a win at Rothesay International Eastbourne and later admitted that she feared there would never be a return to tennis.

A right leg injury at Wimbledon last summer left the 23-time Grand Slam champion sidelined from the WTA Tour for an extended period of time.

Retirement rumors gained traction when longtime manager Patrick Mouratoglou began working with Simona Halep earlier this year, but Williams surprised him last week when he announced his return.

The 40-year-old revealed she received a wild card at Wimbledon and would begin preparations at Devonshire Park, where she joined Ons Jabeur for a 2-6 6-3 13-11 success over Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo on Tuesday. in the evening.

“Did I ever doubt I’d come back? Absolutely, absolutely. I would be dishonest if I said I wasn’t and now my body looks great,” Williams explained.

“I definitely felt good out there and I was talking to Ons in the first set saying ‘we’re not playing bad’ because they were playing really well in that first set.

“But obviously winning, catching more balls and playing a little more made us feel a lot better. It definitely felt comforting. It was clicking in practice and now it looks like it is clicking. It’s double, but it still means a lot to both of us to be in it.”

Williams declined to know if this was the start of a farewell tour after overcoming a rusty opening to show flashes of his former self during a fun date.

A few missed shots were followed by an excellent first winner in the 25th minute, with the volley kick landing in the north stands to give one lucky spectator a memorable memory.

Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo, who won a doubles tournament in Istanbul in April, won the first set in just over half an hour, but Williams’ agility improved noticeably in the second.

Even audible gasps from the crowd after the veteran slipped as she ran onto the court didn’t take her off the pace.

Serena Williams shakes hands with Sara Sorribes Tormo after the match

Serena Williams shakes hands with Sara Sorribes Tormo after the match (Steven Paston/PA)

Williams brought in the set point with an excellent baseline winning backhand after a big ‘I get it’ and properly leveled the proceedings with a 102 mph ace.

A tiebreaker was needed to settle the round of 16 clash and the seven-time Wimbledon singles champion’s desire was evident as she dove to the right to volley that established a first match point.

This resulted in much applause from those who stayed inside the Eastbourne venue and as this came and went, Jabeur lived up to his world number three with a sensational drop shot which was followed by a rebellious volley from Sorribes Tormo to give the team of new look a maiden victory.

Asked about her future, Williams insisted: “You know what I’m literally taking one day at a time. I really took my time with my hamstring injury, so I won’t make a lot of decisions after that.

“I didn’t train much at first, obviously, and after I couldn’t play in New York, I became Peruvian from not working out.

“It was good, but I always try to stay semi-fit because you never know when you’re going to play Wimbledon.

“I love tennis and I love playing, otherwise I wouldn’t be here, but I also love what I do off the court.”

The chemistry between Williams and Jabeur improved over the course of the match and the admiration between the pair extended to the press conference.

“I am very happy that we played together. It was fun and that drop shot at the end…” Jabeur started before his partner interrupted.

Williams added: “Oh my God, I would never do that. Never.”

The final word went to Jabeur, who will be one of the favorites to win at the All England Club this summer.

“Thank you guys! This is the shortest press conference I’ve ever done, but I’m enjoying being with Serena so I’m happy,” she said.

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