London - Four weeks on from her run to the last 16 at the
French Open, Serena Williams is back at Wimbledon, having missed last year's
event as she prepared for the birth of her daughter.
Ranked 183 after just three tournaments back, the seven-time
champion will go into Wimbledon as the 25th seed, the seeding committee having
deviated from the WTA ranking list, an exception because she is coming back after
Having pulled out before her fourth-round match in Paris
with a pectoral injury, Williams did not play a warm-up event on grass. Instead
she arrived early at Wimbledon and has been practising hard under the eye of
her coach Patrick Mouratoglou.
Such is the aura the American brings with her to south west
London, British bookmakers make her second favourite for the title, behind the
two-time champion, Petra Kvitova.
Three months short of her 37th birthday, it is 16 years
since she first won Wimbledon and as she continues to regain full fitness, she
knows an eighth title is a big ask.
"Roland Garros was a mountain way steeper than the
other mountains I've climbed," she told her documentary, Being Serena,
which is being streamed on Eurosport Player.
"And....I can honestly say that I didn't enjoy all the
demands and all the tugging.
"It's a lot of stress and it's a lot of pressure. But I
have support that I've never had before. I have Olympia and I have my husband
and it made it a little bit easier."
Combining being a mum and a professional tennis player
presents additional challenges but Williams says motherhood has changed the way
she looks at things.
"I've been a perfectionist my whole life," she
said. "And I feel like Olympia has made it lesser for me.
"On the court sometimes, when I'm really down, I think
about her. I'm like, 'Serena relax, you can do this'. If anything, she enables
me to believe in myself more and relax and realise that there are other things
that are more important."
At the French Open, Williams showed she has lost none of her
fighting spirit, with wins over Ashleigh Barty and Julia Goerges particularly
With such a formidable record at Wimbledon, where she last
won the title in 2016, Williams will still be confident she can do well again,
though she admits it has been tough to re-programme her post-pregnancy body.
"It wasn't as tight as I was used to," she told
ABC's Good Morning America programme. "I've played tennis for over 30
years, so I'm so used to (being) incredibly fit.
"But I realised every single body is different. Every
single experience is different. I honestly didn't realise that until a month
But feeling less than superhuman, she said, had actually
given her a new lease of life.
"I definitely have a new sense of determination, new
sense of expectations," she told 'Being Serena'. "I guess it all
starts again where I have to be this athlete that I know I can be."