Serena Williams: I'm excited to return to Eastbourne and feel its unique charm

Tennis superstar Serena Williams has spoken of her excitement at making her return from injury next week at Eastbourne - and how the tournament has a 'unique charm'.

As we reported yesterday Williams is to play at Eastbourne and then - a week later - Wimbledon a year after being forced to retire from the 2021 All-England Championships with injury.

Now she and Eastbourne tournament director have spoken about her involvement.as excitement mounts in the town over Williams and, hopefully, British No1 Emma Raducanu both playing next week.

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The LTA said it was pleased to announce that Williams was set to make her first tournament appearance in almost a year, when she will pair up with Tunisia’s world No.4 Ons Jabeur for the doubles event of the LTA’s Rothesay International at Eastbourne, having received a wildcard.

Serena Williams at Eastbourne in 2011 - the last time she played there / Picture: Getty

The doubles draw will be conducted early afternoon Saturday, with Williams and Jabeur likely not to play their first match before Tuesday. The daily order of play will be confirmed the night before.

Williams said,:“I am excited to return to the Rothesay International tournament in England and to be back on the grass - a surface that has been so good to me throughout my career. Eastbourne has a unique charm that you don’t see anywhere else on Tour and I’m looking forward to playing in front of the fans again.”

Williams, who has won more singles majors (23) than any other player in professional tennis history, will be making her third appearance at the Rothesay International, having reached the quarter-finals on her debut in 1998 as a 16-year-old and the second round in 2011 returning from injury.

Tournament director Gavin Fletcher said: “On behalf of everyone at the LTA we are delighted to warmly welcome Serena back to the Rothesay International and the fabulous setting of Devonshire Park, Eastbourne. This year’s line-up is proving absolutely stellar, where having Serena here will be the icing on the cake and personally, I’m sure I speak for many in that we can’t wait to see her play again.”

The Rothesay International starts this Saturday with the singles qualifying event, followed by the main draw on Sunday. There are still limited tickets available on all courts, including grounds admission for all days except Saturday 26 June. The event will be broadcast live on BBC and Prime Video