Home Tennis 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams skips practice ahead of doubles match that will mark competitive return

23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams skips practice ahead of doubles match that will mark competitive return


EASTBOURNE, England — Serena Williams skipped her scheduled observe session at Eastbourne with late discover on Monday because the 23-time Grand Slam champion prepares to make her return to competitors after a 12 months away.

Williams educated at a close-by membership over the weekend and was anticipated to have an on-site session at Devonshire Park forward of enjoying doubles with Ons Jabeur. Their first match is ready for Tuesday in opposition to Sara Sorribes Tormo and Marie Bouzkova.

Williams, 40, who hasn’t competed anyplace since she was injured within the first spherical of Wimbledon final 12 months, was awarded a wild card for singles on the All England Membership.

Jabeur mentioned it was “unbelievable” to have been requested by Williams to be a part of her journey again to competitors on the Wimbledon warm-up.

“I’m a good secret keeper — yes, I’ve known [since] before the French Open,” mentioned the No. 3-ranked Jabeur, who arrived at Eastbourne after successful the title in Berlin on Sunday.

“Many players were jealous because I’m playing with her. Honestly, Serena is Serena. She is a legend and always will be.”

Jabeur mentioned she is hoping to be taught “even like 2% from it.”

“Now I’m joking with other doubles players,” she mentioned. “I was like, ‘If you have minus 20 grand slams, don’t even ask me to play doubles with you anymore.'”

Jabeur has pulled out of the singles at Eastbourne following her run to the title in Germany and can play solely the doubles. Nonetheless, she’ll possible be stored busy this week given her associate.

“I cannot wait to see her; I haven’t seen her yet,” Jabeur mentioned of Williams. “Hopefully we will get together and talk a little bit and see, because I’m really pumped. I want to win this doubles and why not win the title here, you know?”

Amongst these to advance within the singles Monday have been three qualifiers — Donna Vekic, Kirsten Flipkens and Lesia Tsurenko — and a wild card in Britain’s Jodie Burrage. American participant Alison Riske was overwhelmed by Magda Linette of Poland 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-6 (4).

Within the males’s occasion, sixth-seeded Alex de Minaur of Australia started his title protection by beating Cristian Garin 6-3, 6-3.

Two People — fifth-seeded Reilly Opelka and seventh-seeded Frances Tiafoe — misplaced within the first spherical on Monday.

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