Serena Williams is ready to make her Wimbledon comeback.
This week, the 23-year-old Grand Slam champion was awarded a wild card entry for singles during the competition. This marks the tennis icon’s long-awaited return to the sport after nearly a year away from the court due to a right leg injury.
The 40-year-old Olympic gold medalist teased the big news on Instagram, posting a picture of her gleaming white tennis shoes on the court.
“SW and SW19. It’s a date. 2022. See you there. Let’s Go,” Williams wrote, noting her initials and Wimbledon’s postal code “SW19.”
Ahead of her June 27 match at Wimbledon, Williams will warm up in a smaller doubles competition next week with Tunisian tennis champ Ons Jabeur at Eastbourne in England, according to AP News.
The last time the California native rocked the court at Wimbledon was in 2016 when she defeated German tennis pro-Angelique Kerber at the tournament. Fans were eager to see her scoop up her eighth Wimbledon trophy in 2021 but Williams’ performance was drastically hindered after she slipped and fell on wet grass during the first round against Aliaksandra Sasnovichat.
The athlete’s painful right knee injury ultimately led to her withdrawal from the competition. Consequently, Williams also withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics and the 2021 US Open. Back in December, the tennis legend turned venture capitalist announced that she wouldn’t be competing at the 2022 Australian Open following medical advice from her team.
Now she’s ready to put her powerful tennis swing to good use.
This isn’t the first time Williams has stepped away from the court. The award-winning athlete took over a year-long hiatus in 2017 following the birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia whom she shares with husband Alexis Ohanian. The bustling entrepreneur experienced a traumatic delivery while in labor, forcing her medical team to perform an emergency C-section in order to protect her daughter. Following the delivery, Williams had to receive more medical attention after her stitches burst open from coughing uncomfortably.
“I spoke to the nurse. I told her: ‘I need to have a CAT scan of my lungs bilaterally, and then I need to be on my heparin drip,” the star recalled to Elle in April. “She said, ‘I think all this medicine is making you talk crazy.’ I said, ‘No, I’m telling you what I need: I need the scan immediately. And I need it to be done with dye.'”
Upon running tests, doctors found a blood clot in her lungs that needed to be broken up before it reached her heart. Williams finally left the hospital after four surgeries.
Blood clots are the most common cause of pregnancy-related death in the US, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Surgical delivery by C-section nearly doubles a pregnant woman’s risk of developing a dangerous blood clot. Unfortunately, Black women often undergo the procedure at a 35.9 percent higher rate than white women at 30.7 percent.
Thankfully, it didn’t take the mother of one too long to bounce back. In 2020, Williams hoisted the ASB Classic trophy in Auckland, New Zealand after defeating Jessica Pegula. While gratifying, Williams told Elle that safely delivering her daughter was the ultimate “reward.”
“Despite my body’s wreckage—and the fact that I couldn’t get in much breastfeeding—connecting with Olympia at long last was amazing; it was both the reward and the validation for all I’d been through,” Williams shared before joking:
“I went from not being able to really imagine her in the womb to us being completely inseparable. I still feel like I have to be around her every day of her life, as much as possible. I’m anxious when I’m not around her. Honestly, it’s a little much.”
Little Olympia is often photographed cheering her mom on courtside during competitions.
Olympic Track and Field star Allyson Felix is a proud girl mom
There are a number of Black women effortlessly juggling their dynamic sports careers while raising healthy children.
Track and Field star Allison Felix shares her adorable daughter Camryn with her husband Kenneth Ferguson. The 11-time Olympic medalist will have more time to spend with her family now that she’ll be retiring.
In April, Felix took to Instagram where she announced that her 20-year-long sprinting career would be coming to an end after the 2022 season.
“I have so much gratitude for this sport that has changed my life. I have given everything I have to running and for the first time, I’m not sure if I have anything left to give. I want to say goodbye and thank you to the sport and people who have helped shape me the only way I know-how—with one last run,” the historic sprinter told fans.
Felix has been competing in the Olympic Games since Athens in 2004, earning seven gold medals and 13 world championship titles along the way.
The determined sprinter broke barriers in the sports world at just 19-year-old, becoming the youngest athlete to win a championship title in 2005, and that was fresh off her Olympic silver medal win a year prior during the 200m dash in Athens. Eyes were peeled on Felix in 2008 when she drove the U.S .women’s 4x400m relay team toward a gold medal win at the Beijing Games. Last year, the track and field GOAT secured her 11th medal while competing in the Tokyo Olympics.
Off the field, Felix has dedicated her life to raising awareness about the pay disparities and maternal health issues that impact working women from all walks of life. Last year, Felix teamed up with Athleta to provide childcare grants for women competing at the Tokyo Olympics.
Additionally, Felix established her mark on the sneaker world with the release of her women’s shoewear line Saysh, a sneaker made exclusively for and by women.
The idea came following her split with Nike in 2019 after the company failed to provide maternity protection following her daughter’s birth. Felix went on to write about her frustrations with the brand in an op-ed for the New York Times citing that negotiations were stressful during the time of her pregnancy. Felix battled through a high blood pressure disorder called Preeclampsia and was forced to undergo an emergency C-section at 32 weeks.
The inimitable track and field titan isn’t concerned about her timing in the months leading up to her retirement. According to Felix’s Instagram post, this season, she’ll be running to create “a better future” for her daughter and women around the world.
More notable Black athlete mothers
In 2019, The Chicago Sky’s Candace Parker gave birth to her first child during the 2009 WNBA season. Parker returned to the court six weeks after delivery.
Two-time WNBA champion DeWanna Bonner took a year-long hiatus away from basketball after welcoming her twin daughters in 2017. The basketball star bounced back in 2018 and earned a spot in the WNBA all-star game shortly after.
Track and field runner Alysia Montaño competed in the 800-meter race at the 2014 U.S. Track and Field Outdoor Championships while eight months pregnant. The five-time U.S. outdoor champion welcomed her daughter Linnea dori Montaño in August of that year. The star also has two young boys.
Lisa Leslie became a mom for the first time in 2007. The WNBA legend welcomed her daughter with her husband Michael Lockwood that year. Lisa retired from the league after a dynamic basketball career in 2009, shortly before giving birth to her son.
She did it all while becoming a three-time WNBA MVP and a four-time Olympic gold medal winner too!
Nia Ali won the silver medal during the 100m hurdle at the 2016 Rio Olympics shortly after giving birth to her son Titus Maximus. The sprinter also has a daughter.