Tennis fans eagerly awaiting the return of Serena Williams can look forward to a match-up between the former world No. 1 and world No. 33 Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria next week at Eastbourne. If the American prevails over Pironkova, she could possibly next meet top seed Vera Zvonereva, the world No. 3, whom Williams defeated in last year’s Wimbledon final.
The defending Wimbledon champion has not competed since winning her 13th Grand Slam title last year, having suffered a foot injury and a pulmonary embolism that have kept her off of the courts since that time.
Williams first returned to the courts for a practice session in April, making headlines for appearing in a hot pink bodysuit that she later explained was necessary for keeping her stomach warm after her most recent surgery.
The 13-time Grand Slam champion later withdrew from the French Open, saying that although her recovery was progressing, she would need additional time off before competing again.
But the American raised hopes that she would be healthy enough to defend her Wimbledon crown when she recently announced that she would be competing at the Eastbourne tune-up event.
“I am so excited to be healthy enough to compete again,” Williams had said in a statement released by her agent. “These past 12 months have been extremely tough and character building. I have so much to be grateful for. I’m thankful to my family, friends, and fans for all of their support. Serena’s back!”
It may seem near impossible for any 29-year-old under the circumstances at hand to regain her top form in time to make a strong showing at the upcoming Grand Slam, but Williams is not just any player. The American great has demonstrated in the past that she is able to quickly rebound from an extended period away from competition, as after an eight-month hiatus in 2004, she reached the quarterfinals of the French Open and the final round at Wimbledon.
Williams, who is currently ranked No. 25 in the world, defeated Pironkova in their only match-up to date, taking a three-set victory in the first round of the 2007 French Open.
Are you excited to see Serena back on the courts? Can she make a run at Wimbledon?
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