After nearly a year, Serena Williams finally returned to action this week to play doubles at the Rothesay International in Eastbourne, and straightaway produced a thrilling contest.
Williams and her new partner, World No. 3 Ons Jabeur, came back from a set down to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo and Marie Bouzkova in the Round of 16 clash. When Williams and Jabeur lost the first set 6-2, a first-round exit seemed inevitable. But the duo fought back to win the second set 6-3 and force the match into a ten-point tie-break, which they won 13-11.
Although the American legend was not at her best in her comeback match, the level of tennis kept on improving as the match progressed. Speaking to the Tennis Channel about Williams' return, former American tennis player Prakash Amritraj expressed his excitement and said that no other player compares to her.
"It is just chills to see her back on the court which is beautiful and as expected, you're going to see her feel a little bit rusty, not be completely in sync out there and that's going to take a little bit of time but look, this is all a set up for the big W. You look at all the field in WTA and they just haven't been there in the manner that Serena Williams has. She is a seven-time champion and has all the kind of experience that you can build up in a couple of lifetimes over there," Amritraj said.
Amritraj also drew comparisons with legends of other sports like Tiger Woods and Muhammad Ali, suggesting that if Williams finds her rhythm, she could definitely win Wimbledon this year.
"Let's also look at the history of greatness. All throughout different sports — Tiger Woods' 2019 Masters, Muhammad Ali's Rumble in the Jungle, George Foreman when he was 45 against Michael Moorer. Greatness has no age. Greatness can do things that normal people can't and I'm not going to bet against Serena Williams here. She does need a few things to fall into place — the luck, the draw, her health — but if she gets on a roll, there's no reason why she can't walk away with no. 24," said Amritraj.
Next opponents for Serena Williams and Ons Jabeur
After a confidence-boosting victory in the first round of the Rothesay International, Serena Williams and Ons Jabeur will next face Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-ching in the quarterfinals. The unseeded Japanese-Taiwanese pair defeated Sania Mirza and Lucie Hradecka in their first match.
After the match, when Williams was asked if fans could expect her and Jabeur to team up at Wimbledon, the 40-year-old said they were taking it one match at a time.
"We're taking this show on the road. No, no, we're taking it one match at a time," Williams said.
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