Serena Williams' warning to rivals ahead of Wimbledon: 'I didn't retire'

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·Sports Reporter
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Serena Williams (pictured) speaking to her coaches ahead of Wimbledon.
Serena Williams (pictured) said she is pleasantly surprised at her level of play and preparation for Wimbledon and is seeking a record 24th grand slam. (Getty Images)

Serena Williams has signalled her intention is to win Wimbledon after taking time away from the game before warning rivals she is way ahead of schedule in preparation.

The 23-time grand slam champion only recently returned to the sport after having not played since Wimbledon last year when she was forced to retire hurt with a leg injury after slipping on the wet grass in the opening round.

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After nearly a full year on the sidelines, Williams made her return to competitive tennis when she teamed up with Ons Jabeur in doubles at Eastbourne.

And speaking at a Wimbledon press conference a day out from competition, Williams said she surprised herself at the level of her game this week.

"Eastbourne was a good experience," Williams said.

"I went into this saying, I'd play Eastbourne. I would never be ready for singles, I'll just kind of play doubles and see how I felt. Definitely probably could have played singles there.

"But the doubles was great. I felt more prepared than I thought I would like a month or two months or three months ago. Way, way more. So it was kind of surprising."

Williams as been chasing grand slam No.24 to match Margaret Court's all-time record ever since winning the Australian Open in 2017.

Unfortunately for her, Williams has lost four grand slam finals since 2017 to Angelique Kerber (2018) and Simona Halep (2019) at Wimbledon and to Naomi Osaka (2018) and Bianca Andreescu (2019) at the US Open.

However, Williams said she plans on equalling the grand slam record at Wimbledon and was taken aback when asked on Saturday what would be a successful campaign.

"C'mon now," Williams said.

"You guys know the answer to that, so... I'm not going to answer that."

Serena Williams' time away from tennis

Earlier in the press conference, Williams said he had never retired from the game during her year-long hiatus.

But, was resting up and preparing for her return to the sport.

"I didn't retire. I just needed to heal physically, mentally and, yeah, I had no plans, to be honest," Williams said at Wimbledon on Saturday.

Serena Williams (pictured) during a practice session ahead of the 2022 Wimbledon Championship.
Serena Williams (pictured) during a practice session ahead of the 2022 Wimbledon Championship. (Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)

"I just didn't know when I would come back. I didn't know how I would come back.

"Obviously, Wimbledon is such a great place to be, and it just kind of worked out."

Williams will launch her 21st Wimbledon title assault against France's Harmony Tan on Tuesday.

She could face last year's finalist Karolina Pliskova in the Third Round.

with AAP

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