Tennis legend Serena Williams’ comeback ahead of Wimbledon has been cut short following an injury to her doubles partner Ons Jabeur at the Eastbourne International.
The Tunisian sustained a knee problem before she was scheduled to face Magda Linette and Aleksandra Krunic in the semifinals of Eastbourne alongside the 23-time Grand Slam champion.
Playing together for the very first time, Jabeur and Williams, nicknamed ‘Onsrena’, faced the pair of Sara Sorribes Tormo and Marie Bouzková and edged an entertaining match 2-6, 6-3, 13-11 on Tuesday. They produced a more convincing performance last night, as they defeated Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-ching 6-2, 6-4.
Earlier today, Jabeur posted a series of snaps of the pair on court, to which Williams replied: “Hoping you heal fast! #Onsrena forever!” These matches marked the first time Williams played competitively since last year’s Wimbledon, where she was forced to retire with an injury just six games into her first round match.
This year, the sporting icon returned after receiving a wild-card entry to play at the All-England Club, which starts on Monday. Speaking after Wednesday’s match, Williams said: “I feel good, as good as one can feel after having such a long time off.
“I was telling Ons, this was a really good match and the second set in particular, they played really well, but we were able to just play different circumstances. It was actually good match play and match practice, which is exactly what I needed and what I wanted to do coming here, so I couldn’t have asked for more.”
It was tough road back to the sport for Williams, who questioned if she would be able to compete again. Retirement rumors gathered pace when long-term coach Patrick Mouratoglou started to work with Simona Halep earlier this year but Williams sprung a surprise last week when she announced her return.