Millennium Post

Serena happy to plant seed of doubt for Wimbledon rivals

London: All eyes will be on Serena Williams when Wimbledon gets underway next week as the seven-time champion bids to win her first Grand Slam crown since becoming a mother.

Williams' two-year reign as Wimbledon champion ended 12 months ago when she missed the grass-court Grand Slam while she prepared for the September birth of her first child. In the American's absence, Spain's Garbine Muguruza won Wimbledon for the first time with a final victory over Serena's sister Venus.

Winning Wimbledon for the eighth time in her 18th visit — coinciding with the event's 150th anniversary — would be another memorable moment for Serena on the Centre Court she regards as a second home.

But Williams has made only a tentative return to action following complications during daughter Alexis Olympia's

birth. The 36-year-old was beaten by Venus at Indian Wells in March and suffered a dismal first round exit against Naomi Osaka in Miami.

Williams played her first Grand Slam for over a year at the French Open last month, reaching the fourth round before a shoulder injury forced her to quit ahead of her clash with old rival Maria Sharapova.

Not seen on court since Paris, Serena has still loomed large over the tennis world as the debate rages over whether she should be seeded at Wimbledon. Williams is ranked 183 after her pregnancy absence, but she is a former world number one who won the last Grand Slam she competed in at the 2017 Australian Open. As a 23-time major winner, many believe Serena deserves to be seeded regardless of her current reduced status.

However, French Open chiefs decided against seeding Williams.

She will use a protected ranking to enter Wimbledon, but their seedings committee will decide this week whether she should be included among the top 32 in the draw.

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