Serena Williams will resume her quest for an elusive 24th Grand Slam singles title at this month’s Wimbledon after making her long-awaited return to the Tour when she competes in doubles at the Eastbourne International.
The former world number one has not played competitive tennis since limping out of last year’s first-round match at the grasscourt major — where she has won seven of her 23 titles — in tears due to a leg injury.
The 40-year-old has slipped down the rankings to 1208th and needed a wildcard from the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), which organises Wimbledon, to compete in the main draw of women’s singles.
But Williams will first team up with Tunisian world number four Ons Jabeur for the doubles event at Eastbourne which gets underway this weekend.
“SW and SW19. It’s a date. 2022 See you there,” Williams wrote on Instagram on Tuesday, referring to the postcode of the AELTC which hosts Wimbledon.
Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) said the pairing of Williams, who has also won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles, and Jabeur are not likely to play their first match before Tuesday in the WTA 250 tournament.
“I am excited to return to the Rothesay International tournament 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 statement from LTA.
“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.”
Since lifting her last Grand Slam trophy at the 2017 Australian Open, Williams has been on the hunt for an elusive 24th that will put her level with Australian Margaret Court for the most major titles.
She reached the final at four majors since returning to the Tour after giving birth to daughter Olympia in 2017 but lost in straight sets on each occasion.
The main draw at Wimbledon starts on June 27.