Serena Williams will this week embark on what she is calling “the rest of my career”, after recovering from serious illness that had her close to death. The former Wimbledon champion has not played competitively since taking her fourth title last July but will appear at Eastbourne.
Williams cut her foot in a restaurant shortly after her win last year and was taken to hospital with blood clots on her lung.
“I was on my death bed at one point – quite literally. I’ve had a serious illness but at first I didn’t appreciate that,” Williams said.
“At first people said it would be fine, it would be all right but it turned out to be a lot more serious. If it had been left two days later it could have been career-ending – or even worse. They told me I had several blood clots in both lungs. A lot of people die from that.
“It got to the stage where it felt like I could hardly breathe. Some days I didn’t get out of bed at all. I just laid on a couch thinking why has this happened to me? The second surgery was tough, more mentally tough than a lot of things I’ve been through including my sister dying.
“It’s why this is a comeback that’s totally different from any other comeback.Because this has given me a whole new perspective on life and my career – and not taking anything for granted. I’m just taking one day at a time. I’m not preparing for today or for Wimbledon. I’m preparing for the rest of my career.”
“I don’t usually play warm-ups for Wimbledon but I figured it would be smart to do so this time and what better place to come to for that than Eastbourne. I’m just here to do the best I can but I’m also here not to lose.”