Wimbledon: Title can wait as Serena just happy to be back
Serena Williams will begin the defence of her Wimbledon title tomorrow just happy to be back on the lawns of the All England Club.
Until the 29-year-old confirmed she would be playing in the warm-up tournament at Eastbourne, it seemed highly likely Wimbledon would be added to the long list of tournaments she had missed.
Things began to go wrong a few days after her win over Vera Zvonareva in the final at SW19 12 months ago when she cut her foot on broken glass at a restaurant.
What was initially thought to be a minor problem turned out to be anything but, requiring two operations and ruling her out for a number of months.
Williams' hopes of a return earlier this year were then scuppered by the discovery of blood clots on her lungs, which could have been life-threatening had she delayed receiving treatment.
So it is not surprising Williams is putting thoughts of a fifth Wimbledon title firmly to the back of her mind.
The eighth seed said: “It would be awesome and amazing, but that's not my thought process. My thought process is just to play the best I can and to be positive. I'm happy to be here.
“Six or seven weeks of just trying to get myself together isn't a tremendous amount of time, but the fact that I can even compete and be in a position I wasn't sure I'd have a chance to be in again is more than enough.”
Williams' only tournament since last year's Wimbledon came at Eastbourne last week, where she recovered from a slow start to beat Tsvetana Pironkova in round one before losing to Zvonareva.
The American was reasonably pleased with her game and especially happy to be able to compete without any problems with her lungs — although that did not stop mother Oracene worrying.
Williams said: “I didn't feel anything after a three-hour match. That was a blessing.
“I was fine physically when I got off the court. My mom was so worried about me.”
Williams, who faces France's Aravane Rezai in the first round, insisted, despite all her problems, she never considered settling for what she had, saying: “I always thought I would want to continue to play.”