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Serena Williams to play at Wimbledon as wild-card entry after yearlong absence

We have not seen the last of Serena Williams.

Wimbledon said Tuesday that it has awarded the 23-time major champion a wild card for this year’s tournament, and the Lawn Tennis Association said she will play doubles with world No. 4 Ons Jabeur at the Eastbourne International next week. 

The announcements followed Williams’ Instagram post in which she teased that she would play Wimbledon, ending a yearlong absence from tennis.

“SW and SW19. It’s a date. 2022 See you there,” Williams wrote in the caption of the photo, which showed her wearing all-white shoes with her tennis bag in the background.

SW19 is the postal code for Wimbledon. Williams also tagged Wimbledon and Eastbourne, a tournament that is traditionally a warm-up for Wimbledon, in the photo. Williams hasn’t played since withdrawing in the first round of last year’s Wimbledon after slipping and injuring her ankle. With few updates about her health, and with longtime coach Patrick Mouratoglou now working with Simona Halep, some had suggested the 40-year-old would quietly retire. But Williams clearly has other plans. Doubles play at Eastbourne begins Monday, though the LTA said Williams and Jabeur likely won’t play before Tuesday. Wimbledon begins June 27. 

“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 the statement announcing her wildcard for Eastbourne.

“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.” Williams has won Wimbledon seven times, most recently in 2016. She also reached the final in 2018 and 2019.

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Williams’ 23 Grand Slam titles are one shy of Margaret Court’s record.