Ring-rusty Serena Williams will find the tennis landscape greatly changed as she attempts a Wimbledon comeback after a year off the court,
That’s the harsh – if realistic – verdict of former No. 2 and two-time grand Slam champion Karolina Pliskova, who suggests the 40-year-old American will be in for the surprise of her life if she thinks she can just waltz back into the sport.
“It will be difficult, super difficult for her no matter which kind of player she is because this is a thing where you still need some time,” the Czech who reached the Wimbledon final last summer against Ash Barty told Eurosport.
“But of course, she is an amazing player, she achieved so much and still a number of players will be super scared to play her.
“This is her advantage but let’s see the level. I cannot really say.”
Williams is testing her tennis this week in Eastbourne doubles with Tunisian Ons Jabeur, a partnership which has been bubbling under the surface for a month or more.
But Williams seems to have done little in the year since she limped off the All England Club grass in the first round after just six games.
Her activities in the intervening months appear to have comprised celebrity red carpet appearances, crypto coin investment endorsements and precious little training.
She also broke ranks with longtime coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who quickly took on Simon Halep as a client.
Pliskova added: ““I don’t know how long it has been since she has played. Has it been a year?
“It’s a long time and she is not the youngest any more so I suppose the body also takes some time to get back into shape.
“Playing matches at tournaments is still very much different to just practising and from what I understand, she is not playing (singles) here [Eastbourne], she is just playing doubles.”
Main photo:-Serena Williams in tears after pulling out of her first round match The Championships 2021 AELTC/Jed Leicester