The mystery over Serena Williams' form was somewhat rested after the 23-time Grand Slam champion's game had shades of her pre-injury self during a comeback win at the Eastbourne International tournament. However, tennis fans were left confused as Williams was spotted with three black tapes on her right cheek during the match.
In their opening match of the doubles event, Williams and her partner Ons Jabeur returned from a set down to win 2-6, 6-3, 13-11 against Sara Sorribes Tormo and Marie Bouzkova.
Along with Williams' return to action, the tapes on her face were also the topic of discussion as fans rushed to social media to find answers.
"Y'all let me know when you find out why Serena has got a paper tape on her face. Okay? Actually dying to know. People are saying kinesiology tapes but I want the real tea, hopefully one of the journos will ask during postmatch interview," one fan wrote on Twitter.
As per one of the spectators, Serena Williams' trainer put the tapes on her face during the pre-match practice session.
When asked about the tape during her post-match press conference, Williams chose not to answer, leaving fans even more worried and in suspense.
However, some fans had certain theories as to why the American sported the tapes throughout the match. Many wondered if the tapes were there to help relieve pain due to a sinus issue or cosmetic procedure.
"KT tape, probably for cosmetic procedures (beauty spots removed or treated) so can’t be exposed to UVB. Or to help with sinus pressure," one fan wrote.
Another fan highlighted that it is common for athletes to sport such tapes on their faces and there is nothing to worry about.
Serena Williams remains unsure about her tennis future
While she did not provide clarity about the tapes on her face, the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion gave an honest answer about her future in the sport. Serena Williams expressed that while she loves playing tennis, she also loves her off-court activities and is unsure of what the future exactly holds at this point.
"I don't know, I can't answer that. I love tennis and I love playing, or else I wouldn't be out here, right? But I also love what I do off the court, what I've built with Serena Ventures, it's interesting. So, it's a lot," Williams said.
Williams also shed some light on her mindset over the last year when she wasn't actively playing tennis.
"Absolutely, for sure, I would be dishonest if I said it wasn't. But now my body feels great. I did a lot of non-training in the beginning, obviously. After I couldn't play New York, I just went cold turkey of not working out and it felt good. But I always try to stay semi-fit because you never know when you're going to enter Wimbledon," added Williams.
Williams and Jabeur will face Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-ching in the quarterfinals at Eastbourne. The American will be keen to get as much match time as possible ahead of Wimbledon.
While she is chasing a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon, Williams can also make more history by becoming the first unseeded player to win the women's singles title at SW19.
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