Serena in tears after Wimbledon opener
Serena Williams in tears after Wimbledon opener. Champion Serena Williams, playing just her third match in 11 months, struggled past Frenchwoman Aravane Rezai 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to reach the Wimbledon last 64 on Tuesday and promptly broke down in tears.
The 29-year-old, seeded seven after missing almost a year because of a foot injury and life-threatening illness following her fourth Wimbledon title, was inconsolable as she walked off court and during her TV interview.
“I usually don’t cry, I don’t understand it. It’s been so hard, I never dreamt I’d be here,” said Williams, who had described her battle against blood clots on her lungs as like being on her death bed.
“I just wanted to win at least one match here and since I’m not playing doubles it was a really big win for me. It’s been so hard and has been a disaster year.
“To be able to come back at Wimbledon is pretty awesome, I didn’t expect to play or do anything. I’m just excited.”
Watched by US pop superstar Diana Ross and England’s Ashes-winning cricketers up in the Royal Box, Williams dropped the first two games of the match against Rezai before racing through the next six games to take the first set.
Rezai, whose ranking has slumped to 61 from a career high 15 last year after suffering a controversial and public split from her father, dug deep to break in the sixth game of the second set on her way to levelling the match.
But Williams, desperate not to become only the second defending champion to lose in the first round, shrugged off her stamina and timing problems to dominate the final set, claiming victory with her 13th ace.
She next tackles Romania’s Simona Halep for a place in the last 32.