Serena Williams has shut down rumours she could retire from tennis by teasing a stunning return to Wimbledon this summer.
The 40-year-old was subject to fierce speculation about her future after news she had split with her long-time coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who has been permission to work with rival Simona Halep.
But in a huge twist Williams appeared in a clip on social media talk up her prospects of a ‘comeback’ after nine months out of the game.
Speaking alongside Green Bay Packers quarter-back Aaron Rodgers at a Bitcoin conference in Miami, she assured fans she was still planning to feature at another big tournament, hinting that she may also play at the US Open later this year.
‘I am backstage at a Bitcoin conference in Miami with Aaron Rodgers here. We’ve been talking about my comeback and he’s been hyping me up and getting me ready for Wimbledon. Can’t wait!’
Rodgers joked he was Williams’ ‘hype man’, before pretending to be shocked by the news: ‘Wimbledon? What about the US Open?’
Williams replies: ‘Wimbledon is before the US Open! I have to play Wimbledon first!’
The 23-time Grand Slam winners then says ‘exciting’, as Rodgers adds: ‘She’s back.’
Williams missed the Australian Open at the start of the year after picking up a hamstring injury and has not played a match since June last year – which was coincidentally at Wimbledon.
And with retirement on the horizon, rumours about her possible retirement flooded social media after Mouratoglou – her coach for the last 10 years – confirmed they will be going their separate ways.
Mouratoglou said he had ‘opened a door’ for him to work with the Romanian star ‘at least short term’ after holding talks with her, and insisted he has ‘missed coaching’ while Williams has been inactive.
‘In the last eight months I realised how much I’ve missed coaching,’ he said in a statement on Twitter. ‘It is the passion of my life and I still feel I have so much to give.