By HOWARD FENDRICH
AP Tennis Writer
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Serena Williams plans to make her return to singles competition via a wild-card entry at Wimbledon, where matches begin on Monday.
Williams is a seven-time champion in singles at the All England Club, part of her collection of 23 career Grand Slam titles, a record in the professional era (which dates to 1968).
The 40-year-old American won two matches in doubles alongside Ons Jabeur this week at a grass-court tournament in Eastbourne; before that, Williams had not played any sort of official contest anywhere since injuring her right leg and needing to stop during the first set of her first-round match on Centre Court at Wimbledon a year ago.
This is not the first comeback from a significant absence for Williams.
Here is a look at other times she missed two or more consecutive Grand Slam tournaments since making her major championship debut at the 1998 Australian Open:
When Williams Was Sidelined: 2003-04
Why: Left knee surgery to repair a partial tear in the quadriceps tendon
Grand Slam Tournaments Missed: 2 — 2003 U.S. Open and 2004 Australian Open
Age at Return: 22
How Many Majors Until Reaching a Final After Return: 2 (Runner-up at Wimbledon in 2004)
What Williams Said Then: “I’m going to be a better player, for sure, when I come back. My knee is going to be better than it’s been ever in my career, which is really exciting, and … I’m going to be mentally relaxed. I’m going to be stronger, and I’m going to be angry.”
When Williams Was Sidelined: 2006
Why: Left knee pain
Grand Slam Tournaments Missed: 2 — 2006 French Open and 2006 Wimbledon
Age at Return: 24
How Many Majors Until Reaching a Final After Return: 2 (Champion at Australian Open in 2007)
What Williams Said Then: “Like I always say, when I’m playing well, it’s hard for anyone to beat me. It’s just a fact. I think a lot of people understand that. I don’t think anyone that has to play me goes home and shouts with joy.”
When Williams Was Sidelined: 2010-11
Why: Two operations on her right foot after cutting it on glass at a restaurant, followed by blood clots in her lung and a large gathering of blood under the skin on her stomach
Grand Slam Tournaments Missed: 3 — 2010 U.S. Open, 2011 Australian Open, 2011 French Open
Age at Return: 29
How Many Majors Until Reaching a Final After Return: 2 (Runner-up at U.S. Open in 2011)
What Williams Said Then: “Mentally, I was just down. But I think that’s normal. That is expected. … I was just pretty upset and just wondering when this string of things would stop happening.”
When Williams Was Sidelined: 2017-18
Why: Pregnancy; complications when her daughter was born
Grand Slam Tournaments Missed: 4 — 2017 French Open, 2017 Wimbledon, 2017 U.S. Open, 2018 Australian Open
Age at Return: 36
How Many Majors Until Reaching a Final After Return: 2 (Runner-up at Wimbledon in 2018)
What Williams Said Then: “I don’t think I ever actually lost that competitive side. In fact, I feel like it’s stronger, because I’ve been through so much.”
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