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Serena Williams insists she has ‘high goals’ at Wimbledon and will go in search of an eighth title

‘I have high goals’: Serena Williams insists she’s not just at Wimbledon adding star quality and will be looking for an eighth title in SW19… while joking she’s out of office mode and her venture capital work aside

  • Serena Williams is back at Wimbledon after a year away from singles
  • She says she is motivated by her first round withdrawal from SW19 last year
  • A clash against world number 113 Harmony Tan from France acts as a soft introduction
  • Williams aims for eighth Wimbledon crown and 24th Grand Slam

Serena Williams is back at Wimbledon and it’s not just to add some shine to a slightly depleted women’s field.

Absent from singles for a year, she was asked on Saturday what her ambitions were for the next two weeks.

“You know the answer to that, come on,” she said. “I have high goals.”

Serena Williams is back at Wimbledon this year after being away from singles for 12 months

Serena Williams is back at Wimbledon this year after being away from singles for 12 months

The spirit is always willing, but how cooperative the flesh will be is the question, with her not far from her 41st birthday.

The only tennis she has played since stumbling off Center Court a year ago is the two doubles matches she played in Eastbourne last week.

Her visit there had the air — and apparently a few demands — of a presidential visit, but there’s no question that she still enjoys stature above her peers, even ranking at 1,204.

How well she does on SW19 will depend on how well she is able to beat singles after such a long absence. At least she has a seemingly soft introduction, against France’s world No. 113 Harmony Tan.

Williams, who turns 41 in September, is looking for a record-matching 24th Grand Slam

Williams, who turns 41 in September, is looking for a record-matching 24th Grand Slam

Williams revealed that much of making what could be a farewell appearance at the All England Club isn’t the same as last year when she had to pull out of her first round after slipping on the fresh grass.

“It was a big motivation, to be honest,” she said. “Since the game there was always something on my mind.”

The 23-time Grand Slam champion decided she would return to Wimbledon for the French Open sometime in May.

That’s why she must have done a lot of work. While she should be competitive on the grass courts, getting deep into the second week is in high demand.

‘I haven’t retired. I just needed to heal physically and mentally,” she said, referring to most of the past 12 months when she was only seen at launches and premieres, rather than on the tennis court.

She withdrew from SW19 last year after sustaining a hamstring injury in her first round match

She withdrew from SW19 last year after sustaining a hamstring injury in her first round match

Wimbledon was tough last year. I felt like I was injured for the most part, then I tore my hamstring. So overall the whole experience was rough.”

She turned her attention to helping promote King Richard, the film that primarily targeted her father, and her venture capital.

This remains something she is very interested in, although she declined to say whether she was part of a consortium interested in buying Chelsea FC, despite the rumours.

And returning to the competition after a long break is nothing new for her. She has often had long breaks between events.

“I’m currently out of the office for the next few weeks, so if you email me, you’ll get the nice ‘out of office’ response,” she said. “Everyone knows I’ll be back in a few weeks.

The tennis great is putting aside her venture capital work for a while to focus on tennis again

The tennis great is putting aside her venture capital work for a while to focus on tennis again

Williams last won Wimbledon six years ago when she defeated Angelique Kerber in the final

Williams last won Wimbledon six years ago when she defeated Angelique Kerber in the final

“In my entire career I have never played as much as the next player. I think that was all subconscious, I took care of myself and knew how to take care of myself.

“I started saying I would play Eastbourne. I would never be ready for singles, I just play doubles and see how I felt. But probably I could have played singles there.

‘The doubles was great with Us [Jabeur, of Tunisia] who played well. I felt more prepared than I thought I would a month or two months or three months ago. Much, much more. So it was quite surprising.’

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