See you at Wimbledon, Serena! 23-time Grand Slam winner Williams shuts down any doubts on her participation in London by confirming she WILL feature at grass-court Slam

Serena Williams, ranked 1,208th, announces

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.

Originally due on Thursday, the initial list was rushed out after the 40-year-old American announced on social media that she would be returning to the All England Club.

‘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. He then attended the University of Memphis, from where he has launched a previously unheralded career.

‘I went out there with nothing to lose and I tried to keep thinking of that,’ said 26-year-old Peniston, the world No 180, after his first match on the main ATP Tour ended in victory.

Katie Boulter, who heads the list of British women given a wildcard by Wimbledon, beat in-form American Alison Riske 6-4, 6-3 in Birmingham in the first round of the Rothesay Classic.

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