Serena Williams made her entrance from the tunnel to Centre Court with a song in her ears. All eyes were on her as she gave a wave and smiled.
She served to open the match with a cell phone camera pointed in her direction.
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No one knew what to expect from the 40-year-old Williams, who has 23 major titles to her name, despite the fact that she is arguably the greatest tennis player of all time. She was playing in a match for the first time in over a year, but she didn't practice on Monday.
On Tuesday, Williams provided some answers and even quelled some of the doubt with an epic comeback victory.
Williams said after the win that he caught some fire. I need that.
Williams showed signs of rust and was unfamiliar with the person. They raced out to an early lead. There were a few moments of vintage Serena greatness, including a dominant overhead smash, but it looked for most of the first set to be a short one.
There's that Serena smash 😎@serenawilliams | #RothesayInternational pic.twitter.com/ecuABThuCd— wta (@WTA) June 21, 2022
Neither Williams nor Jabeur were prepared to give up. Williams' movement got sharper, her ball-striking became sharper and her confidence got better. At the end of the second set, Williams was running down each ball as if the match depended on it.
With the ROOOOAR 🗣@serenawilliams & @Ons_Jabeur claw their way back to take the second set 6-3!#RothesayInternational pic.twitter.com/3s8JBgnCj8— wta (@WTA) June 21, 2022
Williams hasn't played doubles since 2020 and hasn't played a competitive match since 2011. She had arrived at the All England Club as a favorite but suffered a devastating injury in her first match and had to retire. Her quest for her 24th Grand Slam title ended in 34 minutes.
She withdrew from the US Open due to her health. There was no sound afterwards. She didn't say anything about the French Open. She wasn't on the initial Wimbledon entry list. There was a lot of speculation about retirement.
It seemed as if she had said that she wouldn't tell anyone if she ever said goodbye.
She wasn't finished yet. She was given a wild card to play at Wimbledon and was going to play in the doubles draw.
It felt like a passing of a torch from one pioneer to another when Williams chose Jabeur to be her partner.
There are a number of firsts for players from her home country of Tunisia, as well as for Arab and African countries. She is currently tied for the highest-ranked African player in history.
Even though her time in the sport is over, she can still play. Williams' inclusive legacy will live on in a player who is paving the way for so many aspiring young players.
The pair were laughing and smiling at the same time. Both reacted to one another's shot-making prowess with expressions that were meme-worthy and gave supportive words after nearly every point.
It was a lot of fun. She made me good on the court, even though I was a little nervous before. She encouraged me even though I made mistakes.
Williams agreed. This is what we have.
They will face Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-ching on Wednesday in order to reach the semifinals. Despite their success and infectious giddiness after the victory, Williams was not sure if she would be playing together at Wimbledon. She summed her attitude up with her response.
She said it would be a day at a time. It's a day at a time.