Rafael Nadal begins his quest to win the third leg of a potential calendar Grand Slam on Tuesday as Serena Williams returns to singles tennis after a year away. Women's top seed Iga Swiatek, who has won her six previous tournaments, will face Croatian qualifier Jana Fett at 1330 local time (1230 GMT). Nevertheless, the main focus will be on Williams, who will play unseeded Harmony Tan of France in her first singles match since being forced to withdraw from her first-round match due to injury last year.
The 40-year-old Williams won her last Wimbledon singles title six years ago but reached the finals in 2018 and 2019. A wild card entry for this year's tournament, the American has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles-one short of Margaret Court's all-time record. Williams slid to 1,204th in the world after becoming inactive for several years. As a result, there were questions over whether she'd return to the sport. But she warmed up by winning the doubles with Ons Jabeur at Eastbourne last week, and Wimbledon is widely considered her best opportunity at winning a 24th Grand Slam. With his French Open win, Rafael Nadal entered the year halfway to claiming all four majors in a season. Novak Djokovic just fell short of the feat when he fell to Roger Federer last year in the US Open final. Neither man has accomplished the feat since Ron Laver in 1969.
Since winning at Roland Garros earlier this month, he has won 22 Grand Slam singles titles -- two more than Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer combined. Nadal won his most recent Wimbledon crown in 2010, having captured his first one in an epic win over Federer two years earlier. The durability of his performance might be questioned for the two weeks at Wimbledon after playing the entire French Open while his left foot was anesthetized. After undergoing a course of radiofrequency stimulation, 36-year-old second seed's nerve pain in his foot has been reduced. Nadal, who faces Argentine Francisco Cerundolo in his opening match, said he can walk normally most of the time.