The Wimbledon Championships just got a whole lot more interesting. On Tuesday the All England Tennis club announced that the GOAT, Serena Williams, would be entering the draw as a wild card.
Williams has not played since being injured in the opening round of Wimbledon 2021, when she slipped on wet grass in a match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich and sustained a left leg injury. While Serena made public declarations that she was going to keep playing, there was significant speculation she might be done. Williams didn’t apply to the WTA for ranking protection after Wimbledon, being satisfied to slide down the rankings to the 1,208 she’s at right now.
That lack of ranking protection, paired with the injury, sparked speculation that the former world No. 1 might retire. Those rumors were shattered on Tuesday morning with an Instagram post that announced her return to Wimbledon.
This now turns the Wimbledon women’s draw into one of the most fascinating tournaments in recent memory. It’s by no means a gimme that Williams will have a deep run on the grass. Her last full appearance came in 2019 when she lost to Simona Halep in the finals, and entering as a wild card means Serena will have a considerably more difficult climb to the finals than before.
Still, there remains a chance we could see a dream matchup at some point in time between Serena Williams and Iga Świątek. The currently world No. 1, Świątek is coming off a victory in the French Open that pushed her to 35 straight wins, a streak that hasn’t existed since 2000 when, you guessed it, Serena set the mark.
This is the kind of GOAT vs. possible GOAT matchup we dream of. The 21-year-old Świątek is being heralded as the most promising women’s tennis player since Serena, and she’s already expressed wanting to match up with Williams. Following an Italian Open win in 2021, Świątek explained how Serena had been a huge inspiration for her, and expressing her dream to face off against Williams.
“There are so many female players that I appreciate and respect. However, it’s my dream to face Serena Williams. It hasn’t happened yet. She’s a legend, you don’t need to argue that. [...] I would like that, regardless of the outcome and the course of the meeting. To just have that experience as a tennis player.”
Perhaps Wimbledon 2022 will give both Świątek, and all of us, the opportunity to finally see this dream match. It would unquestionably be one of the most anticipated contests in recent memory.