Finally back on the courts after a year, Serena Williams won her opening match at Wimbledon yesterday. The return to the tournament was an emotional one for the star whose physical struggles have kept her on the sidelines instead of in the game she loves.
Closing out a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory over Aravane Rezai of France in the first round of the tournament, Serena put her arm on her chest and began to tear up. as fans including, Diana Ross watched, emotions overcame her as she went to go shake hands with Rezai. She cried even as she stepped off the court for her post-game interview.
Serena has been struggling with health issue since last summer and has had two operations on her foot since then. Even though reports of a comeback have begun to fill the airwaves, the star is keeping things in perspective.
Speaking to reporters after she had regained her composure, Serena said:
I didn’t expect that. It just hit me at the end. I’m not a crier, but it felt so emotional. I think when I won my first US Open back in 1999 I had a little cry, but not like this. It’s the most emotional I’ve been after a win and to be a first round, well, I usually never get super-excited. But it wasn’t about winning today, it was about just being out there. Everyone has their troubles and you must have faith that you can get through it.
I’ve been through a lot in the last 12 months, a lot of things that are not normal, things you guys don’t even know about. It’s been an arduous, long run and just to be standing up feels pretty awesome.
I always preach to other people, “never give up”, but this was my test. I could have given up, I could have sat at home and thought, “I’ve had a fabulous career, I don’t need to work extra hard now.” Instead, I proved I could. No more than that, really: I could.
I’ve learned you can never take any moment for granted, I learned to try to appreciate it all. Each and every point, each and every moment! Enjoy and relish. This was my struggle, my battle, something I have to overcome and still must overcome every day. This is the beginning of the road, not the end.’
On Thursday, Serena will face unseeded Simona Halep of Romania.