In her fifth decade, Serena Williams is still getting others to dance to her tune, with Wimbledon forced to bring forward their wildcard announcements to Tuesday.
‘SW and SW19. It’s a date. See you there,’ posted Williams.She was the most significant of six women and seven men granted privileged entries to the singles, which guarantees £50,000 minimum to those in the main draw.
It is a boost to a tournament shorn of several stars from Russia and Belarus, and possibly Rafael Nadal.How much of a force Williams will be is another matter. Her only warm-up will be next week at Eastbourne, where she is to play doubles with Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.
Williams has not played since limping out of Wimbledon last year with a leg injury, and is ranked a humble 1,208. She managed just six games in the 2021 edition before retiring at 3-3 in her first round, and she has barely been seen around the game since.
Ryan Peniston, who was also awarded a wildcard, stunned French Open finalist Casper Ruud 7-6, 7-6 in the first round at Queen’s.
Having survived a cancer scare as an infant, Peniston, from Southend, trained at an academy in Nice from the age of 13.