After a year-long absence, Serena Williams earned a wild card berth at Wimbledon

Serena Williams is making a comeback at Wimbledon. The All England Club announced on Tuesday that Williams had been granted a wild-card entry into the singles, marking her return to Grand Slam action after a year.

The owner of a professional era-record 23 Grand Slam singles trophies, and tennis' biggest star, is set to tune in by playing doubles in a minor grass-court event first in Eastbourne, England, next week.

The main draw at Wimbledon will begin on June 27.

Williams has not competed since being injured in the first set of her first-round match at the All England Club in 2021. And her name did not appear in the women's singles list released by the grass-court Grand Slam tournament earlier this month. .

But Williams was among half a dozen women placed in the singles draw on Tuesday, along with five British players: Katie Boulter, Jodie Burrage, Sonay Kartal, Yuriko Miyazaki and Katie Swan.

The All England Club said, “Two other women will receive invitations in due course.

Seven of the men's eight wild-card berths were announced, including one for three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka.

Earlier in the day, Williams posted a photo of her white shoes on what appeared to be a grass court and the message: “SW and SW19. It's a date. 2022. See you there. Let's go.”

“SW” is of course his initials, and “SW19” is Wimbledon's postal code.

The 40-year-old American has won all seven of her singles trophies at Wimbledon, first in 2002 and most recently in 2016. Williams was runner-up there in 2018 and 2019 (the tournament was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic).

In 2021, Williams lost her footing on the slick grass and then sprained her right foot, leading to her first mid-match retirement in any Grand Slam tournament of her career and the first since 1998.

With a lack of activity since then, Williams – who first reached No. 1 in July 2002 – is 1,208th in the WTA rankings this week. That's why he wasn't automatically put into the Wimbledon field.

With Williams ruled out, first Ash Barty and then Iga Suatek stepped into the left opening due to his extended absence. Bertie won Wimbledon last year and the Australian Open this January to cement his hold on the No. 1 ranking, but then abruptly retired in March aged 25.

That elevated Swiatek to No. 1, and he's backed up that new status with an ongoing 35-match winning streak that included claiming a second French Open trophy this month.

That unbeaten streak surpassed Williams' 34-match streak in 2013 and is tied with older sister Venus for longest since 2000.

Williams' inclusion in the All England Club bracket adds to quite a storyline for this year's tournament, which is set to be filled with, including bans on players from Russia and Belarus due to the Ukraine invasion, subsequent removal of ranking points by the WTA and ATP tours, center court. The 100th anniversary of the opening and the addition of games scheduled on mid-fortnight Sundays for the first time.

Reporting by the Associated Press

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