Serena goes from brush with death to Wimbledon favourite
Updated: 2011-06-16 13:50
Serena Williams of the US reacts during her International Women's Open tennis tournament match defeat to Vera Zvonareva of Russia at Eastbourne in southern England, June 15, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
LONDON - Serena Williams has won titles after overcoming adversity before but if she retains her Wimbledon singles crown just months after a scrape with death it would represent the American's greatest comeback.
Many thought the 13-times grand slam winner's career was over when she suffered potentially fatal blood clots in a lung during her recovery after slicing a tendon in her foot on broken glass, an injury which itself required two operations.
She beat Vera Zvonareva in last year's final and the Russian got some revenge this week when she knocked out Williams in the second round at the Wimbledon warm-up event on the south coast.
With sister Venus also back from a five-month lay-off in time for the grasscourt slam the sisters have dominated for a decade, the women's tournament has suddenly been catapulted out of the shadow of the men's event.
"Double the excitement and double the intrigue," was how former Wimbledon great Chris Evert described the effect the American siblings would have in leafy south west London.
Any weaknesses in their games will be fully exposed over the two-week slog, however, and there are plenty of women capable of wrecking their comebacks.
World number two Kim Clijsters has withdrawn with a foot injury but China's Li Na, the French Open champion, world number one Caroline Wozniacki, former winner Maria Sharapova and Zvonareva will all be contenders, while the likes of Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova could also go far.
Without the Williams sisters in the draw, the title could have been a little hollow.
"Serena is a great champion so it's always great to see great champions back on the tennis court," said second seed Zvonareva at Eastbourne.
Serena Williams of the US serves during her International Women's Open tennis tournament match defeat to Vera Zvonareva of Russia at Eastbourne in southern England June 15, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
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