Serena Williams is looking for redemption at Wimbledon this season after retiring during the first round of the championship last year.
The 40-year-old, who has won Wimbledon seven times prior, said that how things ended in 2021 is still on her mind.
“Yeah, it was a lot of motivation to be honest,” Williams told reporters, per ESPN.com. “It was always something since the match ended that was always on my mind. So it was a tremendous amount of motivation for that. You never want any match to end like that. It’s really unfortunate.
“I felt like last year was tough. I felt like I was injured for most of the year. Then I ripped my hamstring. That was tough. I don’t think anyone ever wants to do that. So in general the whole experience was rough.
“Then from there I still tried to make New York. I gave everything I could, just every day, getting ready or trying to make it. But then it’s just like, I’m not going to make it. Hung up my racquets for a little but until I could just heal.”
Williams, who is a wild card entry, said she made the decision to return at Wimbledon before the French Open, though didn’t make it public until June 14. A doubles match at Eastbourne last week marked a return to competitive tennis after a long absence from the game.
“I didn’t retire,” Williams said. “I just needed to heal physically, mentally. And yeah, I had no plans, to be honest. I just didn’t know when I would come back. I didn’t know how I would come back.
Williams’ next major title will be her 24th, tying her with Margaret Court for the all-time lead. She will face Harmony Tan in her first round match on Tuesday.
“Obviously Wimbledon is such a great place to be and it just kind of worked out.” Williams said.