Wimbledon awaits as Serena Williams’ shock comeback picks up pace


“It was clicking,” Williams said, and with Jabeur’s touches around the net and Williams’ serve consistently findings its spots, they were a formidable force in their second round win against the doubles specialists Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-ching. The pairing was Williams’s idea and the chance to play alongside a legend of the sport was gleefully accepted by the Tunisian, who was picked out because of her form and ability but also for her reputation as one of the most down to earth players on tour. They only practised together for the first time on Tuesday but after their opening match were already faced with questions over whether they would be continuing their partnership into Wimbledon.

Williams called Jabeur with an invitation to play doubles

“I’m literally taking it one day at a time,” Williams said, and that will need to be her approach throughout the Championships as well. It is unlikely that Williams will have set too many expectations on herself beyond her enjoyment of the sport and while Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam titles remains a target (Williams has lost her last four finals, after all), it seems unfair to mention it as anything near realistic given her lack of training and time on court. It should not be possible at all, really, to rock up to Wimbledon at age 40 having not played a match in 12 months, but the Williams sisters have made careers, have made lives, out of defying what has been expected of them.

Much has changed in tennis between Williams’s last two appearances on a tennis centre court, not least Emma Raducanu’s US Open win and the ascension of Iga Swiatek to world No 1, with the 21-year-old also now breaking Williams’s 34-match winning streak she set in 2013. Yet for all the change, Williams remains. For all the star names in the draw who will also attract attention, she is one with no equal. Once again, improbably, Wimbledon will have the chance to remember why.

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