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Serena Williams has revealed she had doubts about whether she’d ever return to competitive tennis amid her 12-month absence from the WTA tour.



Williams played her first tour-level match in 356 days on Tuesday, teaming with Ons Jabeur in doubles to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo and Marie Bouzkova at the Eastbourne International.



It marked the first time Williams had played since she retired hurt in the opening round at Wimbledon last year, nearly 12 months ago.

The 40-year-old’s lengthy absence from the tour had many speculating that she’d never return and opt to retire instead.



And while speaking in her post-match press conference in Eastbourne on Tuesday, the 23-time grand slam champion admitted to having the same thoughts.

“Did I ever doubt I would return? Absolutely, for sure,” she said.



“I would be dishonest if I said it wasn’t (on my mind) and now my body feels great.

“I definitely felt good out there and I was talking with Ons in the first set saying ‘we’re not playing bad’ because they were just playing really good in that first set.



“But obviously winning, getting more balls and playing a little bit more made us feel a lot better. It definitely felt reassuring. It has been clicking in practise and now it seems like it is clicking.”


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