Serena Williams’ return cut short by injury to Ons doubles partner Jabeur | Tennis News

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Serena Williams’ Wimbledon preparations have suffered a major blow after her doubles partner Ons Jabeur withdrew from the Eastbourne tournament with a knee injury on Thursday. Williams had returned to tennis at Eastbourne after 12 months away, playing her first two competitive matches since leaving Wimbledon last year in tears with a leg injury. 40-year-old American and Tunisian partner Jabeur advanced to the Eastbourne semi-finals with victories over Maria Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo in the round of 16 and Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-ching in the quarter-finals.

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But Jabeur’s injury deprives Serena of the chance to hone her grass game ahead of the start of Wimbledon on Monday.

Before Williams made the surprise announcement of her comeback last week, retirement rumors had been swirling around her for several months.

But Williams has accepted a wild card for women’s singles at Wimbledon as she tries to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.

She will find out who she will face in the first round in the draw on Friday.

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Speaking after Wednesday’s doubles match, Williams said: “I feel good. As good as one could feel after such a long time away. I was telling Ons it was a very good match and the second set in particular, they played really well, but we were able to play under different circumstances.

“It was actually a good match play and a good practice, it’s exactly what I needed and wanted to do coming here so I couldn’t have asked for more.”

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The last of Williams’ 23 Grand Slam singles titles came at the Australian Open in 2017.

Since then, she has lost four Grand Slam finals, including at Wimbledon in 2018 and 2019.

Williams won the seventh and most recent of her seven singles titles at Wimbledon in 2016.

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Serena, who became a mother in 2017, dropped to No. 1,204 in the WTA rankings due to her period of inactivity before Eastbourne.

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