Serena Williams’ Wimbledon Mission | World No 1 Iga Swiatek ‘too shy to say hello’ | tennis news

Serena Williams insisted she had not withdrawn from the bout as she prepares for her first round singles match against Harmony Tan at Wimbledon on Tuesday

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Serena Williams insisted she had not withdrawn from the bout as she prepares for her first round singles match against Harmony Tan at Wimbledon on Tuesday

Serena Williams insisted she had not withdrawn from the bout as she prepares for her first round singles match against Harmony Tan at Wimbledon on Tuesday

It’s been 20 years since Serena Williams first won the Wimbledon singles title, but she has only one thing on her mind when she returns to action at SW19 next week.

Her first matches of the year were in doubles at Eastbourne earlier this week with Ons Jabeur, but she has only one thing on her mind.

When asked what her goal for the tournament is, she said with a smile: “You know the answer to that. Come on now.”

There will also be a sense of revenge for last year’s disappointment at Williams. She had to retire early in her first round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus due to a leg injury.

“Since the end of the game, there was always something on my mind,” she said. “So it was a huge amount of motivation for that.”

However, the smoking hot favorite to come in is the world’s No. 1 Iga Swiatek and the Pole, who is bidding to continue an incredible 35-match winning streak dating back to February, revealed she was too shy to say hello against Williams.

Poland's Iga Swiatek celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2022 French Open at Roland Garros earlier this month

Poland’s Iga Swiatek celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2022 French Open at Roland Garros earlier this month

“When I saw her yesterday, I was quite blown away,” said the 21-year-old. “I felt like I was still a bit new. I didn’t know how to react perfectly. I wanted to meet her.

“I saw she had so many people around her. I don’t know her team. It was kind of weird. I came back to myself a few years earlier when I was too shy to say hello to anyone.”

Williams revealed that her decision to play at Wimbledon was made before the French Open, which was won by Swiatek, but the veteran has not had time to get back into top form as she is on the holy grass and the 24th of her career.

During her break from the sport, she said: “I didn’t retire. I just needed to heal physically and mentally. I had no plans, to be honest. I just didn’t know when I would be back.

“I didn’t know how I was going to come back. Obviously Wimbledon is such a great place to be, and it just worked out.”

Williams has made it no secret that she wants to add something to her Grand Slam catch, finally putting her on par with Margaret Court at the top of the all-time standings.

She has made four Grand Slam finals since returning from maternity leave, including two at Wimbledon in 2018 and 2019, but has not won a set.

Serena Williams holds up the trophy after winning her seventh Wimbledon singles title in 2016

Serena Williams holds up the trophy after winning her seventh Wimbledon singles title in 2016

She hopes this is the tournament where she can put that right. But with other interests now common and taking up a lot of time in the 40-year-old’s life, there may not be many other opportunities for Williams to make history.

Whether this will be her last Wimbledon appearance, the American added: “I don’t know. I can only tell you that I’m here. Who knows where I’ll appear next. You just have to be ready.”

Swiatek, meanwhile, will only be playing in the main draw for the third time, with the run-up to last year’s fourth round being her best performance yet.

Managing expectations going into the tournament, she said: “Honestly I still feel like I need to pick grass. I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare. But I’m just trying to keep an open mind and kind of positives out take the situation.

“I’ve had so many successes this season that I don’t have to show everyone that I have to play well in every tournament because it’s tennis, we have ups and downs. So I try to play with no expectations and see what this tournament brings me.

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