Between injuries and pregnancy, Serena Williams returns under the microscope

It will certainly be the attraction of this upcoming Wimbledon. After a full year off the track, Serena Williams is back on the track at 40 years and 8 months. The former world number one will compete in doubles at the WTA 500 tournament in Eastbourne (June 18-25) before returning to Wimbledon, where she was crowned seven times in singles (six in doubles) the following week.

In 2021, he came out of the London turf crying despite the public’s encouragement for an abandonment in the first round. In question, a tear in the right hamstring that had also deprived her of the Us Open the same year and had taken her away from the courts to this day.

It is not the first time the American has withdrawn from the competition, both due to various injuries and the birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia Jr. Zoom in on the previous four laps of the most successful Grand Slam player of the Open era (23 singles). titles).

March 2004

Why he had stopped. A left knee operation in August 2003 marked his first major setback, an eight-month hiatus, when he had just won his second consecutive Wimbledon. The American, at the head, completed that season what would be the “Serena Slam”, winning four consecutive Grand Slam tournaments, between the 2002-2003 season. (Roland-Garros 2002, Wimbledon 2002, US Open 2002 and Australian Open 2003). He was number 1 in the world in 2002 before falling to third place the following year, due to his absence from the US Open and the Masters.

How was his return. In a flash. He won the Miami tournament which was then played in Key Biscayne for his return to competition in April 2004. But the rest will be much more complicated. In the recovery phase, he will look for success all season before winning in Beijing in September. The little sister Williams ends her season with a defeat in the Masters final against Maria Sharapova. Double defending champion, she also reached the Wimbledon final. She was awarded the WTA Return of the Year Award.

At the start of the 2005 season, he returned to Grand Slam success with a new title in Melbourne. But the rest of his season is still boring: still dwindling, he doesn’t make it past the round of 16 major. The American is out of the top 10 for the first time since entering in 1999, after his first big win at Flushing Meadows.

July 2006

Why he had stopped. After its unsuccessful 2005 season, “Mommy Smash” ‘s knee whistled again and the American fell in sets in a row in the third round of the Australian Open to Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchová, then 18th. world. We won’t see her again until the Cincinnati tournament in July and she will be out for six months with chronic pain in her left knee. Forced to watch the Antwerp, Dubai, Miami, Charleston, Roland-Garros and Wimbledon tournaments from her couch, the champion plummets to the top of the charts for the first time in nine years.

Serena Williams eliminated by Amélie Mauresmo at the 2006 U.S. Open (Pochat / L’Equipe)

How was his return. He made it to the semifinals of the Cincinnati Open for his return where he came out against future winner Vera Zvonareva (Russian). The signal sent is reassuring: easily defeats the eleventh player in the world Anastasia Myskina, in the first round. She will be eliminated from the US Open in the round of 16 by France’s Amélie Mauresmo. The American returns to the top 100, but has a white season, during which he only plays four tournaments.

It was the following season, in 2007, that the machine really returned to the road, its season was not altered in any way. In the final of the Australian Open (6-1, 6-2), in an hour and three minutes of play, she christened No. 1 seed Maria Sharapova, her first major since 2005. Serena Williams will chain two full seasons with five Bigs. Slams and a master’s degree won.

June 2011

Why he had stopped. Serena Williams has suffered a series of physical errors since July 2010 and an injury to her foot caused by broken glass found in a restaurant. Lost for the start of the 2011 season after two operations almost in a row, the American was rushed to hospital in early March for a bruise after treatment aimed at curing a lung embellishment.

How was his return. Without much success at first. At Eastbourne in mid-June, he lost in the second round to Vera Zvonareva, before losing in the round of 16 at Wimbledon to Marion Bartoli. Two setbacks that bring the American down to 175th place.

Misadventures on “their” turf that will be quickly forgotten thanks to an American tour far above their expectations. Two titles at Stanford and Toronto, one final at the US Open, including victories over Caroline Wozniacki (then world number 1) and Victoria Azarenka (number 5): here you have Serena back on stage. Equipped with formidable ground coverage but also ultra-aggressive service and live, as is often the case, it will quadruple the following season at Wimbledon, the Olympics, the US Open and the Masters. Victoria Azarenka, defeated in each of these four tournaments, still remembers it.

Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2012. (Nicolas Luttiau / L'Equipe)

Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2012. (Nicolas Luttiau / L’Equipe)

February 2018

Why he had stopped. The 2017 season of the American legend proved to be as fast as it was prolific. Nine small matches and a title at the Australian Open, during a historic edition where in the final he beat his sister Venus, while Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal found the heights in the men’s category, before saving the rackets for over a year.

Although knee pain prevented him from playing in the Indian Wells and Miami tournaments, he finally put an end to his season on April 19, when he announced, through his agent, that he was expecting his first child, Olympia (to be born on November 16). ).

How was his return. Despite returning to the Abu Dhabi exhibition in late 2017, she had to give up defending her title in Australia in early January, not being physically prepared enough. After a timid return in February, Serena Williams is forced, for the first time in her career, to give up half of the tournament, at Roland-Garros, due to a pain in her right chest that prevents her from developing all her power. to the service. The American still managed to reach the final of the next two Majors, losing to Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon and Naomi Osaka in New York. If the second of these matches turns into a fight, the former world number one receiving a penalty game for a series of warnings, ends the year in an honorable 16th place that is worth the price of the return of the year.

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