Tennis fans have reacted with shock and excitement after Venus Williams, seven-time Grand Slam winner made a surprise appearance at Wimbledon on Saturday before the grass-court Grand Slam.
Only one sister of Williams was expected to compete at Wimbledon this year, and Serena was set to make her long-awaited comeback 12 months after having to bow out in the first round last year.
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Venus was not expected to be at Wimbledon this year, as the 42-year-old announced via Instagram earlier this year that she was not planning to compete at the All England club.
However, her presence on the practice courts on Saturday excited tennis fans, even though it is too late for her to enter the women’s singles or doubles draws.
However, the draw for the mixed doubles has yet to be released, with fans and journalists speculating that we could see Venus back in action in that category.
Venus teamed up with Nick Kyrgios at last year’s mixed event, raising the possibility of the pair meeting.
The duo won their first round match last year but were unable to contest the second after Kyrgios was forced to withdraw of the tournament due to injury.
In 2019, Serena was paired with Andy Murray to challenge for the mixed doubles title at Wimbledon, and fans noted that Venus’ form on the practice court was flawless, further fueling hopes of her entering.
Venus was last on court at the Chicago Women’s Open in August last year, which followed appearances at both Wimbledon and the French Open.
Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus has given no indication of any plans to retire, however a possible mixed doubles entry at the All England Club would mark her first entry into the tournament for 2022.
The 42-year-old is a two-time Grand Slam mixed doubles champion, winning the Australian and French Open titles in 1998.
Serena Williams ready to return to Wimbledon after 12-month hiatus
At Wimbledon just to win, Serena is way ahead of schedule as she continues her obsessive quest to equal a record 24th Grand Slam singles crown.
Despite turning 41 in September, the living legend insists he never considered giving the game away during a year-long hiatus while trying to get over a torn hamstring.
“I didn’t retire. I just needed to heal physically and mentally and, yeah, I had no plans, to be honest,” Williams said at Wimbledon on Saturday.
“I just didn’t know when it would come back. I didn’t know how it would come back.
“Obviously Wimbledon is a great place to be, and it just worked.”
The former World No.1, now ranked 1,204th, made her doubles comeback at Eastbourne last week, reaching the quarter-finals before team-mate Ons Jabeur withdrew.
The veteran’s return exceeded all expectations.
“Eastbourne was a good experience,” Williams said.
“I got into this saying, I’d play at Eastbourne. I’d never be ready for singles, I’d just play doubles and see how I felt. I definitely could have probably played singles there.”
“But the doubles was great. I felt more prepared than I thought I’d like a month or two months or three months ago. Much, much more. So that was a little surprising.”
The 23rd major of Williams’ great career came when she won the 2017 Australian Open while three months pregnant.
She has been chasing No. 24 to match Margaret Court’s all-time record ever since, losing four more Grand Slam finals, all in straight sets to Angelique Kerber (2018) and Simona Halep (2019) at Wimbledon and to Naomi Osaka (2018). and Bianca Andreescu (2019) at the US Open.
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