They’re baaaaack. Tennis’ superstar sister duo, Venus and Serena Williams, are back from lengthy injuries, just in time for the sport’s grass court season leading up to Wimbledon. Venus has had significant results on the surface, winning five titles (plus four in doubles) and Serena, four (plus five in doubles). In fact, Serena’s last time stepping foot on a tennis court was when she won the title against Russia’s Vera Zvonareva in the Grand Slam tournament this time last year; Venus was stunned in the quarterfinals.
Both Serena and Venus have been absent longer than they anticipated, slipping in the ranking to 25 and 32 respectively, a long tumble from one and six at the onset of their issues.
Venus Williams was first sidelined by knee tendonitis after a loss to Kim Clijsters during last year’s U.S. Open semifinal and returned shortly thereafter and experienced a severe hip injury at the Australian Open. Serena cut her foot at a restaurant in Germany directly after the Wimbledon win and, after an exhibition match in which she lost against Clijsters a week later in Belgium, surgeries and a blood clot scare has kept her away from the game.
Being superstars of the sport, they haven’t gone unnoticed since their departure. Venus has a commercial in heavy rotation for Wilson Tennis Racquets, and there have been numerous Serena sightings, including a racy 2K sports commercial that was banned, on-the-scene paparazzi shots, and, most recently, a tweet of her returning to the practice courts in a pink, figure-hugging bodysuit.
According to tennischannel.com, Venus says the simultaneous return is just coincidental:
“I had no idea that she was going to make it back,” she said. “It’s pretty ironic that we had the opportunity to be here at the same time.”
As a warm up, both sisters will play in the Eastbourne International grass-court tournament in Eastbourne, England.
“I think this is crucial for us … to be able to play these key matches at this tournament and be able to do these leading into Wimbledon,” Venus told the press.
The Eastbourne tournament runs June 11-18, 2011, at Devonshire Park. Venus will meet Andrea Petkovic of Germany and Serena will take on Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova. –gerald a. radford