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By: Jojo Zhan

Although it was her 21st tournament at Wimbledon on Tuesday, it was an occasion like no other for Serena Williams.

Having not played a singles match since last year’s Wimbledon, where she tore her right hamstring after slipping and was unable to compete on Centre Court, Williams returned to the All England Club at age 40.

Last year was all about pain and disappointment for Williams with plenty of tears shed.

But after a year and three straight Grand Slam tournaments, sparking understandable speculation about whether she intended to continue playing tennis at all, Williams has returned to tour determined and stronger than ever.

At Wimbledon on Tuesday, in a third-set tiebreaker, Harmony Tan of France beat Williams at the tournament she had won seven times, indicating the end of the Serena Williams that the world has known.

Having won 23 Grand Slam singles titles - the most recent when she was pregnant - Williams commanded her sport unlike anyone else.

Williams is now coached by Eric Hechtman, a former University of Miami tennis player, having split with Patrick Mouratoglou, the prominent Frenchman who has coached her for the last 10 years.

Hechtman clearly acknowledges the goal at Wimbledon is not solely to improve on last year, no matter how long Serena has gone without competing.

“She’s a champion, right? And she’s playing Wimbledon for a reason,” he said. “Just like I think anybody that walks into the tournament, their goal is to win the event. And that’s our goal.”

Williams has also avoided political topics. “I think that’s a very interesting question,” she said. “I don’t have any thoughts that I’m ready to share right now on that decision.”

Some renowned American women’s athletes have voiced their opinion on Friday’s Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, but Williams chose not to offer a perspective.

“Changing the game was not something I set out to do, but somehow I did it,” Williams said late Tuesday night.




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