Serena Williams' long-awaited return to tennis may come in the sport's most prestigious tournament. In an Instagram Live video with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Williams said Thursday she "can't wait" to return and hinted at doing so in Wimbledon.
[Rodgers has been] "hyping me up and getting me ready for Wimbledon," Williams said. The 23-time Grand Slam winner then said "I've got to play Wimbledon first" after Rodgers questioned whether she would play the US Open in New York this year, which begins two months after Wimbledon.
Rogers and Williams met at the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami, where both athletes -- along with NFL receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou -- are confirmed speakers.
It's been nearly a year since Williams competed professionally, and, coincidentally, her last match was at Wimbledon. Williams, currently ranked world No. 246, played Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the 2021 tournament's first round but retired early with an ankle injury. The injury held her out of the US Open, and she eventually missed both the Tokyo Olympics and Australian Open.
Should Williams return for Wimbledon later this summer, she may have to compete without her longtime coach, Patrick Mouratoglou. Mouratoglou announced his new position as full-time coach of world No. 20 Simona Halep on Thursday. In a statement posted to Twitter, Mouratoglou said he spoke with Williams before making the "at least short-term" switch.
Williams is vying for a record 24th Gran Slam singles title but hasn't won one since the 2017 Australian Open. Wimbledon is a great stage for a turnaround, though, as she won the grass-court tournament seven times and most recently in 2016.
Wimbledon 2022 is set for June 27-July 10 in London.