Serena Williams: Rival claims 'no one wants to play' legend at Wimbledon

Serena Williams and Paula Badosa

Spanish tennis star Paula Badosa has claimed “no one wants to play” Serena Williams at Wimbledon.

Williams made a splash this week when she announced she would be playing tennis again after a 12-month break.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner is set to play in the doubles tournament at the Eastbourne International alongside Ons Jabeur.

The pair get their campaign underway today against Sara Sorribes Tormo and Marie Bouzková.

Williams also announced she had received a wildcard into the singles draw at Wimbledon, which runs from June 27th to July 10th.

With the draw for the Grand Slam set to be held on Friday, Badosa revealed she was hoping she would not end up with a first round encounter against the legend.

“Of course I don’t want to play against her,” the world number four said. “I hope the draw goes for another player, because of course no one wants to play against Serena and less on grass. So let’s pray for that.”

Spanish tennis player Paula Badosa

Jabeur joked that Williams should be drawn against Iga Świątek, who is currently on a 35-match winning streak that stretches back to February 16th.

“I hope she [draws] Iga,” Jabeur said. “At least someone should stop Iga a little bit.”

The Tunisian, who is currently ranked third in the world, reiterated how excited she was to be playing doubles with Williams at Eastbourne.

“Many players were jealous because I’m playing with her,” Jabeur said. “Honestly, Serena is Serena. She is a legend and always will be. And the fact that she returned and I get to be part of her journey, it’s really unbelievable.

“She did a lot for our sport and I really respect her, respect her story, respect everything that she’s been through. I hope I can learn even two percent from it.

“Now I’m joking with other doubles players, I was like, ‘If you have less than 20 Grand Slams, don’t even ask me to play doubles with you anymore.'”

Tennis legend Serena Williams

Williams has not featured on the WTA Tour since Wimbledon last year, where she was forced to retire from her first-round match with injury.

There were questions over whether the 40-year-old had quietly retired, but speculation was brought to a halt when she shared an Instagram post revealing she would be playing at Wimbledon.

“SW and SW19. It’s a date. 2022 See you there. Let’s go #renasarmy,” Williams wrote.

The icon has since been teasing fans by sharing clips of her practice sessions on grass courts.

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