Seven-time Wimbledon winner Serena Williams is set for a surprise return to the court at this year’s tournament.
The American star, who has won more major women’s single matches than any other player in history, has not played professionally since her first round defeat in London a year ago.
The 23-time grand slam singles champion, the second most in history, made a tearful exit in the first round in 2021 after a leg injury forced her to retire during her first set against Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
Doubts had been growing about whether she would return to the sport but on Tuesday she posted, “SW and SW19. It’s a date. 2022 See you there”, to her 15 million followers on Instagram.
The 40-year-old also tagged Eastbourne in her post, suggesting she could play in next week’s Rothesay International Eastbourne.
It is unclear whether Williams, now ranked a low 1208, is intending to enter the singles tournament or if she will play doubles, which is less demanding physically.
She has won 14 doubles titles and two mixed doubles titles during a trophy-laden 25-year career.
Due to her low ranking, she will need to enter through a wildcard after failing to use a protected ranking reserved for players side-lined through injury.
The initial batch of wild cards for singles and doubles will be announced on Wednesday.
Wimbledon is widely considered Williams’ best chance of claiming a 24th slam singles crown to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record.
She has twice reached the final since returning from maternity leave in 2018, losing to Angelique Kerber that summer and Halep the following year.