When the draws for this year’s championship were held on Friday at Wimbledon, there were tensions. Who of the unlucky would win a first-round match against the woman who is rated 1,204 right now? The attractively called French player Harmony Tan, who is ranked 113 in the world, was in that difficult situation. The other 126 singles competitors could now exhale with relief as they realized they would not be playing against player number 1,204, better known as Serena Williams, after all.
Playing Serena Williams at Wimbledon has essentially been a death sentence on the court for the entirety of the twenty-first century. In 20 matches, the 40-year-old American has won seven singles championships (as well as seven doubles championships). However, just a month ago, there was some doubt as to whether we would ever see her back on the grass at the All England Club, or even on a tennis court. She slipped and aggravated a hamstring injury in the first round of Wimbledon last year, leaving her inconsolable. Since then, she hasn’t engaged in a challenging singles match.
But Wimbledon’s allure—and the possibility to capture that elusive, record-equaling 24th major title—proved to be too much. She is not the only well-known person making a welcome comeback to SW19, though. The two-time Wimbledon winner Andy Murray, 35, is back and playing his best tennis since his second hip “resurfacing” procedure in 2019.
He defeated Nick Kyrgios and the No. 5 player in the world on the grass in Stuttgart earlier this month, raising his ranking to No. 47. Despite being limited recently by an abdominal strain, Murray will be the favorite to beat Australia’s James Duckworth in the Wimbledon first round.
Serena Williams’ form is the major uncertainty, according to BBC pundit Andrew Castle: “I assumed Serena was over. I was actually shocked, he claims. “I don’t know if she’s capable of winning another grand slam or going far, or if she’s only in town to play a few games of tennis and bid farewell on the 100th anniversary of Centre Court. She doesn’t typically show up to fill up the numbers, though.