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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Return of the Williams Sisters

After Venus Williams confirmed her attendance at the Wimbledon tune-up tournament in Eastbourne, little sister, Serena, has followed suit. Could this finally be the return we've all been waiting for?

A few nay-sayers seemed to believe that both Venus and Serena (ages 30 and 29) would be pushing their luck by returning to the tour after the sisters were sidelined by injury, but just as the rest of us knew, there's no stifling the Williams' competitive spirit.

Together, Venus and Serena have won a total of 20 major singles championships, including nine of the last 11 Wimbledon titles, making them severe threats at the slam this year despite a lack of match play. As two of the biggest hitting players on the WTA circuit, their tennis style is only enhanced by the slick and speedy grass of the All-England Club—a fact slam-seeking players like Wozniacki and Azarenka are going to have to take note of.

Still, Serena has not played for an entire year, having cut her foot on glass after winning the 2010 Wimbledon, and then suffering from pulmonary blood clotting earlier this year. Venus has also had a long time off, withdrawing from all professional play since a hip injury at the Australian open. But is there any stopping a Williams sister surging for a comeback?

Keep in mind that Serena seems to live for dramatic returns. Remember in 2006 when she was ranked 140 due to a knee injury? She clawed her way to a semifinal appearance in Cincinnati and a QF run at the US open. Then, still the center of media scrutiny for her physical shape and world ranking of 81, Serena showed everyone in the tennis world exactly what she's made of, demolishing her competition on her way to the 2007 Australian Open championship and her 8th slam title. I think the Nike advertisement I've included here speaks for itself...

So, what are the Williams sisters' chances at Wimbledon? Fairly good I'll say, at least for a deep run. Keep in mind that Wimbledon is the only slam to seed players as the tournament officials desire and not by world ranking. No top-ranker like Caroline Wozniacki or Vera Zvonareva wants to face Venus or Serena in the third round (or sooner) due to a low seed.... but wouldn't that be fun for the viewers?

I can't wait to watch Serena and Venus in action. If they play well, there is no doubt they will pick their way through an unlucky draw of seeded players, and the entire time I'll sit there thinking to myself, "Finally. The Williams sisters are back."

-Kedzie Teller, ITB Senior Editor


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