| LONDON, June 9
LONDON, June 9 Serena Williams will take
Wimbledon by storm whether she retains her title or not, Andy
Roddick predicted on Thursday as he welcomed his fellow American
back from a year of injury and illness.
Former world number one Williams, the powerhouse of women's
tennis for the past decade with 13 grand slam singles titles,
has taken a wildcard for next week's Eastbourne championships.
A foot injury and health problems had previously sidelined
her since she won last year's Wimbledon title.
Roddick said the 29-year-old's return was not only good for
American tennis but vital for the women's game.
"Well, it's great that she's back," Roddick told reporters
after beating Kevin Anderson 6-4 6-4 in the third round of the
Queen's Club tournament on Thursday.
"I mean, I think, no disrespect to any of the women that are
playing right now, but I think women's tennis needs that
"She hasn't played for a year but I think she still is that
personality and, you know, she's certainly going to probably be
the top storyline going into Wimbledon."
Serena has four Wimbledon singles titles to her name, one
less than sister Venus who is also returning at the Eastbourne
warm-up event after being ruled out since the Australian Open
with an abdominal injury.
Roddick said despite a chronic lack of match practice Serena
is capable of claiming the Wimbledon title this year. The
championships begin on June 20.
"I don't think it would shock anybody if she came through
and won it again," Roddick said. "It's very smart of her to play
a lead-up event, especially after being gone for a year."
Since cutting her foot on broken glass in Munich last year,
an injury that required surgery to a lacerated tendon, and then
suffering life-threatening blood clots in February, Serena's
presence has been missed on the WTA Tour.
Her return will help raise its profile, Roddick said.
"I think I speak for most people in tennis whereas you want
her in the game for so many reasons; not only because she wins
and she's a great champion, but she brings pop culture to
tennis," he said.
"She brings crossover appeal and creates storylines even
when she's not trying which, at the end of the day, is a healthy
thing for our sport."
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris
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