Serena Williams admits she considered retiring during a grueling year-long injury battle | Tennis | sport

Serena Williams has admitted there were times during her year-long fitness battle when she could have ended her career. But after a winning doubles return to Eastbourne, she puts no limits on what she can still achieve in the game.

The 40-year-old made a nervous and error-strewn return to the pitch and it was her reputation and tireless spirit as much as anything that got her across the line in a thrilling tie-break.

And after she and partner Ons Jabeur beat Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo 2-6, 6-3, 13-11, Williams admitted the year-long battle with her hamstring injury had been difficult . “Was there a time when I thought I couldn’t play tennis anymore? Absolutely, of course,” Williams said.

“I would be dishonest if I said no. Afterwards I couldn’t play in New York – I just went there, just cold turkey not to practice and it felt good. I gave myself a one-year schedule, so I gave myself enough time to be here and play.

“And, yes – and now my body feels good. It’s double, I only play half the pitch. But I’ve done a lot of training and so it feels really good.

A 90mph opening serve marked the start of what must be the final chapter of his career. But a 114mph ace helped win the second set and set up the overall win. Obviously mobility is an issue after so long, as was accuracy initially.

But the power and determination appear to be there as strong as ever and the comeback victory earns the 23-time Grand Slam winner another outing at least on the East Sussex coast before heading to Wimbledon.

“I felt really good there and I was talking with Ons in the first set and I said, ‘We’re not playing badly,'” Williams said. more made us feel much better and that was really reassuring.

“It clicks in practice and now it seems like it clicks. It’s a double, but it still means a lot to both of us to be in it.”

And beyond ?

“Wimbledon is so different, you know?” Williams added. “Again, it’s really about taking it one day at a time and one game at a time and going for it whenever you can, as best you can. As for next year? I love tennis and I love playing, otherwise I wouldn’t be here, would I? But I also love what I do off the pitch.

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