Serena Williams makes her return to Wimbledon, somewhat surprisingly on Court 1 rather than Centre Court. She is in the midst of a fourteen match winning streak at the tournament having won in 2015 or 2016 before her pregnancy led to her absence in 2017. Seeded outside the top 24, she will play a top 8 seed in round three should Elina Svitolina make it there. Before that, she opens against Arantxa Rus with either a wildcard or qualifier in the second round.
Rus made her return to a grand slam main draw at the French Open, having not competed at one since Wimbledon 2013. A disastrous few years saw her plummet down the rankings but she is now back in the top 100 and gets direct entry because of it. It’s hard to tell if she is here to stay with her ranking held up by ITF tournaments and the occasional WTA tournament – including a final in Seoul last year.
Talk before the tournament was about Serena’s seeding, which ended up being 25 in the end – possibly for the convenience of only affecting one player’s spot in the draw when it came to seeding. She picked up a couple of impressive top 20 wins in the French Open, beating Julia Goerges and Ashleigh Barty before her round four withdrawal. That came as a result of a pectoral injury suffered in her doubles match the day before she was slated to play Maria Sharapova. “For me, it was mostly just about the serve. So I took almost, what was it, three weeks from serving completely, just doing an incredible amount of rehabilitation for my shoulder, like twice a day, so much work,” she said on the injury. “I don’t think I’ve ever done that much, like, consistently back-to-back rehabilitation for something. I think it worked because so far so good.”
Prediction – Serena Williams in straight sets