Lure of Wimbledon grass courts too much for Venus to resist

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 1, 2022 Britain’s Jamie Murray and Venus Williams of the U.S. during their first round mixed doubles match against Australia’s Michael Venus and Poland’s Alicja Rosolska REUTERS/Matthew Childs

LONDON—The sight of the All England Club’s manicured lawns proved irresistible for Venus Williams as the multiple Grand Slam champion made an unexpected – and winning – return after almost a year off court to play at Wimbledon on Friday.

The 42-year-old American, inspired by the sight of younger sister Serena earlier in the week, stepped back onto the court alongside Jamie Murray in the mixed doubles thanks to a wildcard entry and promptly booked a spot in the second round.

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“I had no plan to play. I saw the grass and I got excited,” Williams said after she and her British partner secured a 6-3 6-7(7) 6-3 win over Alicja Rosolska and Michael Venus.

“I was at the French Open, it’s a beautiful event, but my heart didn’t beat the same way. Not that I could play but … I had no plans. That’s why I was asking (Murray) last minute.”

Welcome back, Venus. 💚💜@Venuseswilliams | #Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/fdOjq0RYwY

— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) July 1, 2022

Murray is a two-time winner of the mixed doubles event at Wimbledon, but this is a title Williams has never claimed in her storied career.

In addition to her seven singles grand slam titles, Williams has won all four grand slam doubles titles – including six at Wimbledon – and the mixed doubles at the Australian and French Opens.

“It’s one of the only ones I haven’t won, so I usually put a little more priority here,” she said.

“It was definitely super last minute. Just inspired by Serena. Like I said, it was amazing. I just was so happy to have so much help today.”

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