sport news 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams will compete in the Doubles ... trends now
An awful lot has happened in tennis since the current world No1281 last hit a tennis ball in anger.
A spate of huge events has taken place in the sport since those six games Williams managed on the Centre Court last year before retiring.
23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams is now ranked World No 1281
A former Wimbledon doubles champion, Peng Shuai, disappeared in China; Novak Djokovic was deported from Australia; players from Russia and Belarus were banned from SW19; a three-time ex-champion, Boris Becker, was sent to jail.
All this and more has happened in the time between Williams’s last match and when she steps on to the courts at Eastbourne to play doubles this week.
Unusually, arguably the world’s greatest-ever female player has figured in the none of the sport’s dramas, because in tennis terms she virtually vanished from view.
There have been plenty of sightings of her via social media and at various launches and ceremonies.
Probably the most high-profile was last year when Hollywood released King Richard — the slick and decidedly sympathetic film which told of how her father turned two of his daughters into superstars (Serena was exec producer).
Given that her Instagram activity barely mentioned tennis, and the fact that she did not put her name down on Wimbledon’s entry list, the widespread assumption was that she would not be coming back.
Williams' last competitive appearance ahead of Eastbourne came at Wimbledon last season
That impression had been bolstered in April when, in a rare sporting development, her long-time coach Patrick Mouratoglou announced that he was moving on to work with 2019 champion Simona Halep. So naturally it caused quite a stir last Tuesday when she popped up to post a picture of her feet in tennis shoes on a grass court.
Even in her fifth decade — she turns 41 in September — she is still moulding events in her own life and getting others to dance