New focus for Serena Williams after ‘death bed’ scare
Wimbledon champion Serena Williams is relishing her comeback at this week's AEGON International in Eastbourne after admitting she was, at one point, on her “death bed” during a difficult 12 months.
Williams has not played since winning her fourth crown at SW19 last year after badly cutting her foot while coming out of a German restaurant.
The 29-year-old was then hospitalised with blood clots on her lung which she believes developed due to having to wear a cast for 20 weeks to protect her foot.
“I was on my death bed at one point — quite literally. I've had a serious illness, but at first I didn't appreciate that,” she said ahead of her return match against Tsvetana Pironkova.
“At first people said it would be fine, but it turned out to be a lot more serious. If it had been left two days later it could have been career-ending — or even worse.
“They told me I had several blood clots in both lungs. A lot of people die from that. It got to the stage where it felt like I could hardly breathe. Some days I didn't get out of bed at all. I just laid on a couch thinking why has this happened to me?
“The second surgery was tough, more mentally tough than a lot of things I've been through including my sister dying.
“This has given me a whole new perspective on life and my career — and not taking anything for granted. I'm just taking one day at a time. I'm not preparing for today or for Wimbledon. I'm preparing for the rest of my career.”
Her troubles started when she gashed her foot in Germany.
She said: “To this day I don't really know the full details of what happened. I was with my nephew and my hitting partner and we were just leaving a restaurant.
“I was walking and just felt something. I kept walking and it was definitely glass there. There was a massive puddle of blood and I ended up fainting and needed stitches in both feet.
“I didn't know then but it was a torn ligament. I just know my toe was kind of hanging. They said it would be fine or that's what I thought, but it ended up eventually not being fine.”