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Serena Williams gives Wimbledon thumbs up

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Serena Williams will play at Wimbledon, ending fears that the 40-year-old was going to retire.

The 23-time grand slam singles champion made a tearful exit in the first round 12 months ago after withdrawing during the first set due to a leg injury.

She had not applied to play using her protected ranking so was not on the initial players’ list.

But on Tuesday, Williams posted on Instagram: “SW and SW19. It’s a date. 2022 See you there.”

“SW” are her initials, of course, and “SW19” is the UK postal code for Wimbledon.

Wimbledon responded by granting the American great a wild-card entry for singles, bringing forward by 24 hours their planned release date.

It was then revealed Williams would make her comeback at the Eastbourne event, playing doubles with Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, to gain some grasscourt practice.

“I am excited to return to the Rothesay International Eastbourne in England and to be back on the grass – a surface that has been so good to me throughout my career,” said Williams.

“Eastbourne has a unique charm that you don’t see anywhere else on tour and I’m looking forward to playing in front of the fans again.”

Few seeds will want to be paired with her in the early rounds at Wimbledon.

Williams may be ranked a lowly 1208, but she has won seven singles championships at Wimbledon, most recently in 2016, and reached the final in 2018 and 2019 (the tournament was cancelled in 2020 because of COVID-19).

Five British players were also given wildcards with two other places to be announced.

Seven of the eight men’s wild-card berths were also confirmed, including one for three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka.

Wimbledon 2022 begins on June 27.

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