Image Source: Eurosport
Serena Williams hasn’t lost her ability to entertain despite taking a year off from tennis.
Her return to grand slam competition on Tuesday at Wimbledon—a three-hour, 11-minute battle with France’s Harmony Tan—was dramatic, captivating, but ultimately unsuccessful.
Tan, rated No. 115 in the world and playing in her first Wimbledon match, let alone on Centre Court’s main court, prevailed in the longest game of the women’s singles draw thus far by maintaining composure in the super tie break (10-7).
Given Williams’ lengthy career and time away from the game, it is obvious that this was not her best performance or that it ever would be.
The two players, though, put on a show that over-delivered on drama when the roof closed and the lights flashed in Centre Court, a scene that brought oohs and ahhs from those watching.
In the end, Tan was the one to disrupt Williams’ comeback celebration, producing multiple shots that even garnered cheers from her rival on the other side of the net.
“This is amazing for my first Wimbledon. Simply amazing, “Tan remarked in her on-court interview that she was at a loss for words.
Williams, who turned 40 last September, is continuing to pursue a record-tying 24th grand slam victory five years after winning her previous one at the Australian Open.
Williams’ Wimbledon comeback was sour, as was to be expected, and it took her some time to settle into a groove when playing Tan. She had played in two doubles matches at Eastbourne last week as her lone competitive outing up until Tuesday.
After being broken in the opening game, she began to regain her composure by the fourth and began to hit her groundstrokes more cleanly as she returned the favor by breaking Tan’s service twice.
Williams thought about how tennis was no longer her only priority in life before Wimbledon. Her time has been taken up off the court by parenthood, her venture firm, and the release of the film King Richard, which she co-produced.