Serena Williams’ long-awaited return began in the humble and quiet environment of Eastbourne’s private tennis club. After arriving in the UK within a few days of announcing his return to tennis, Williams chose to be unobtrusive. She remained offsite even when her tournament began. She refused to hold her single press conference.
When she trained with Frances Tiafoe at the Mead Tennis Club on Sunday, her first spectator was a passerby. A world where he happens to look down at the club from the hilly road and stare at them in the shock of their hearing.
On Tuesday afternoon, Williams finally entered the Eastbourne International grounds and, alongside Ons Jabeur, won the first match after a year of layoffs. After a rusty start, the pair recovered from the set and defeated Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-2, 3-6, 13-11.
It wasn’t until Tuesday afternoon that Williams and Jabber met as partners and trained together for the first time. The aspects of the Williams match were naturally rusted after such a long layoff, and Jabber was uncertain on the doubles court, in the form of singles. They were early flattened by their solid and assertive enemies. But as the match endured, Williams steadily improved. Her serve has risen to its formidable heights and those important little steps around her ball are back.
After taking a break, Williams offered a second set in vintage play. First, she uncorked the winner of the angled backhand pass shot while running, interrupted the shot with a slender grunt, and then closed the door with a cold-blooded ace.
When the tiebreaker began, Williams woke up and was solid from the baseline, but it was Jabber who scored the decisive point, flapping the winner of a stunning drop shot to raise match points, and the crowd gave it. I stood at my feet before taking it. When they celebrated, Jabber and Williams pointed to each other and begged the crowd to absorb it.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Jabber. “I was nervous before playing in such a legend. She continued to encourage me even if I made a mistake.”
This is a step forward for Williams, but the future remains uncertain. She hasn’t played in 51 weeks since she slipped into the first round of Wimbledon last year and was forced to retire from the tournament after injuring her hamstring. She’s been in the spotlight for the past year, but since she didn’t tour at the age of 40, many wondered if she was the last to appear.
Such an idea was clearly in her mind. “I literally take it a day at a time,” she said. “I really took the time to injure my hamstring, so I haven’t made a lot of decisions after this.”
If her body was healthy, her decision on her future was clear, pushed to see if she would return to the tour completely in 2023. “I don’t know. I can’t answer. I love tennis and I love playing. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here? But I also do out-of-court and build with Serena Ventures. I love it. It’s interesting, so there are many. “
When she nursed the hamstring and then left the sport, Williams admitted that in the past year she had wondered if she could still play. My body feels good now. That’s double, I’m only playing half of the court. I’ve done a lot of training and it definitely feels good. “
She has returned to another attempt at her 24th Grand Slam title. This is just the beginning, and after such a long layoff, her first small step has returned to sports, but it’s still unclear where she’s heading.
Tuesday was a great day for British players in Eastbourne. After suffering various injuries, former top 100 player Katie Bolter defeated No. 7 Karolina Pliskova 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 to win the biggest victory of his career. rice field. Jody Barrage, number 169, ended the day by offending Paula Badosa, number 4, 6-4, and 6-3 in the world.
Meanwhile, Ryan Peniston continued the breakout glass season by defeating eighth-seeded Holger Rune 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1.