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Wednesday August 17th, 2022 4:04AM

WIMBLEDON 2022: A look at past comebacks by Serena Williams

By The Associated Press
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WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Serena Williams plans to make her return to singles competition via a wild-card entry at Wimbledon, where matches begin on Monday.

Williams is a seven-time champion in singles at the All England Club, part of her collection of 23 career Grand Slam titles, a record in the professional era (which dates to 1968).

The 40-year-old American won two matches in doubles alongside Ons Jabeur this week at a grass-court tournament in Eastbourne; before that, Williams had not played any sort of official contest anywhere since injuring her right leg and needing to stop during the first set of her first-round match on Centre Court at Wimbledon a year ago.

This is not the first comeback from a significant absence for Williams.

Here is a look at other times she missed two or more consecutive Grand Slam tournaments since making her major championship debut at the 1998 Australian Open:

___

When Williams Was Sidelined: 2003-04

Why: Left knee surgery to repair a partial tear in the quadriceps tendon

Grand Slam Tournaments Missed: 2 — 2003 U.S. Open and 2004 Australian Open

Age at Return: 22

How Many Majors Until Reaching a Final After Return: 2 (Runner-up at Wimbledon in 2004)

What Williams Said Then: “I’m going to be a better player, for sure, when I come back. My knee is going to be better than it’s been ever in my career, which is really exciting, and ... I’m going to be mentally relaxed. I’m going to be stronger, and I’m going to be angry.”

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When Williams Was Sidelined: 2006

Why: Left knee pain

Grand Slam Tournaments Missed: 2 — 2006 French Open and 2006 Wimbledon

Age at Return: 24

How Many Majors Until Reaching a Final After Return: 2 (Champion at Australian Open in 2007)

What Williams Said Then: “Like I always say, when I’m playing well, it’s hard for anyone to beat me. It’s just a fact. I think a lot of people understand that. I don’t think anyone that has to play me goes home and shouts with joy.”

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When Williams Was Sidelined: 2010-11

Why: Two operations on her right foot after cutting it on glass at a restaurant, followed by blood clots in her lung and a large gathering of blood under the skin on her stomach

Grand Slam Tournaments Missed: 3 — 2010 U.S. Open, 2011 Australian Open, 2011 French Open

Age at Return: 29

How Many Majors Until Reaching a Final After Return: 2 (Runner-up at U.S. Open in 2011)

What Williams Said Then: “Mentally, I was just down. But I think that’s normal. That is expected. ... I was just pretty upset and just wondering when this string of things would stop happening."

___

When Williams Was Sidelined: 2017-18

Why: Pregnancy; complications when her daughter was born

Grand Slam Tournaments Missed: 4 — 2017 French Open, 2017 Wimbledon, 2017 U.S. Open, 2018 Australian Open

Age at Return: 36

How Many Majors Until Reaching a Final After Return: 2 (Runner-up at Wimbledon in 2018)

What Williams Said Then: “I don’t think I ever actually lost that competitive side. In fact, I feel like it’s stronger, because I’ve been through so much.”

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More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Tennis, AP Sports - Women's Tennis
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