Tennis world erupts over Venus Williams appearance at Wimbledon

Venus Williams has been spotted on the Wimbledon practice courts, leaving fans hopeful for a grasscourt return.
Venus Williams has been spotted on the Wimbledon practice courts, fuelling speculation of a mixed doubles appearance at the All England club. Pictures: Twitter/Getty Images

Tennis fans have reacted with shock and excitement after seven-time grand slam winner Venus Williams made a surprise appearance at Wimbledon on Saturday ahead of the grass-court grand slam.

Only one Williams sister was expected to compete at Wimbledon this year, with Serena set to make her long-awaited return 12 months after having to retire in the first round last year.

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Venus had not been expected to be at Wimbledon this year, with the 42-year-old announcing via Instagram earlier this year that she was not planning on competing at the All England club.

However her presence on the practice courts on Saturday has got tennis fans excited - even though it is too late for her to enter the singles or women's doubles draws.

However the draw for the mixed doubles is yet to be released, with fans and journalists speculating that we could see Venus back in action in that category.

Venus teamed up with Nick Kyrgios in the mixed event last year, raising the prospect of the pair reuniting.

The duo won their first round match last year, but couldn't contest the second after Kyrgios was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to injury.

Back in 2019, Serena paired up with Andy Murray for a run at the mixed doubles title at Wimbledon - and fans have noted that Venus' form on the practice court was on point, further fuelling hopes of her entering.

Venus was last on court at the Chicago Women's Open in August last year, which followed appearances both at Wimbledon and the French Open.

A five-time champion at Wimbledon, Venus has given no indication of any plans to retire, however a potential mixed doubles entry at the All England Club would mark her first tournament entry for 2022.

The 42-year is a two-time grand slam champion in mixed doubles having won the Australian and French Open titles in 1998.

Venus Williams, pictured here at Wimbledon.
Venus Williams is at Wimbledon, despite thoughts she wasn't playing. (Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images) (John Walton - PA Images via Getty Images)

Serena Williams all set for Wimbledon return after 12-month hiatus

At Wimbledon only to win, Serena has declared herself miles ahead of schedule as she continues her obsessive quest for a record-equalling 24th grand slam singles crown.

Despite turning 41 in September, the living legend insists she never really considered giving the game away during a year-long hiatus while also trying to overcome a torn hamstring.

"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.

"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."

Serena Williams is feeling optimistic about her form after a successful return to grass at Eastbourne alongside Ons Jabeur. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Serena Williams is feeling optimistic about her form after a successful return to grass at Eastbourne alongside Ons Jabeur. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

The former World No.1, now ranked 1204th, made her comeback in doubles at Eastbourne last week, reaching the quarter-finals before her partner Ons Jabeur pulled out.

The veteran's return exceeded all her expectations.

"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."

The 23rd major of Williams' grand career came when she won the 2017 Australian Open while three months pregnant.

She's been chasing No.24 to match Margaret Court's all-time record ever since, losing four more grand slam finals - all in straight sets to Angelique Kerber (2018) and Simona Halep (2019) at Wimbledon and to Naomi Osaka (2018) and Bianca Andreescu (2019) at the US Open.

With AAP

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