Wimbledon is also Serena Williams’ show. After a year’s break, the US superstar is making his comeback – and continues to chase his dream of an all-time record.
Serena Williams rolled her eyes. The 40-year-old American answered the questions about personal expectations for the big comeback in Wimbledon with a mocking smile.
«I have high goals, but we have to see. I won’t answer that,” the tennis superstar coqueted. Because nothing else counts for the 23-time winner than the hunt for the Grand Slam title record when she returns after a year-long injury break. 364 days after the last appearance at the classic lawn and the rupture of the thigh muscle, Williams is celebrating her eagerly awaited return on Tuesday – and is already proving her exceptional position beyond the sport.
Williams the pro
Team Williams leaves nothing to chance before the opener against Frenchwoman Harmony Tan. After warming up in doubles with Ons Jabeur, the Tunisian – who was number three in Wimbledon – also acts as a training partner. It quickly becomes clear who sets the tone on the pitch. Williams gives short commands, Jabeur plays. All for the 24th title in one of the four biggest tournaments, with which Williams would match Australia’s Margaret Court’s record. “I didn’t resign,” she said at Wimbledon. “I just needed to get healthy physically and mentally. And I honestly had no plans for it either. I just didn’t know when I was going to come back.”
Williams, the opponent
Due to her long break, Williams has now slipped to 1204th place in the world rankings – and is still valued and feared by all opponents. Not only Angelique Kerber trusts the oldest participant in the field “a lot”. World number one Iga Swiatek from Poland even reported that she was “overwhelmed” when she saw Williams training in Wimbledon shortly before the start of the tournament and didn’t know how to react.
Williams the committed
During her career, Williams repeatedly spoke eloquently on social issues, denounced racism and demanded more equality. And so the American was also asked about the controversial decision of the US Supreme Court, which overturned the country’s liberal abortion law. All the more surprising that Williams dodged. She doesn’t have any thoughts yet that she’s ready to share, she said. Almost an hour later, Coco Gauff, who was 22 years younger, sharply criticized the verdict.
Williams the businesswoman
Even during the sporting break, Williams was not idle professionally. Serena Ventures, a private equity firm, provides capital primarily to companies whose founders come from historically disadvantaged backgrounds. She raised more than $100 million in a year. “If you have a company like that, you have to go all in,” she explained. “It takes up all my extra time. And it is fun. I will be out of the office for the coming weeks. If you send me an email, you get a nice out-of-office notice.»
How long this will remain activated also depends on Williams’ physical condition. But it should be at least two weeks. Even if she didn’t want to clearly declare the title as a goal herself, her trainer Eric Hechtman made this clear a little later in the “New York Times”: “She’s a champion, isn’t she?” He said. “And she plays Wimbledon for a reason. Everyone else who starts the tournament wants to win it. And that is our goal.”
Williams, the mother
And besides the record, Williams would also achieve something else remarkable: In the 138-year history of Wimbledon, she would be only the fifth mother to win the tournament. Daughter Olympia is now four years old.