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Exclusive: Serena Williams ‘absolutely’ had doubts about competing again

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Serena Williams of the U.S. celebrates winning her round of 16 doubles match with Tunisia

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Serena Williams of the U.S. celebrates winning her round of 16 doubles match with Tunisia's Ons Jabeur against Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo and Czech Republic's Marie

Tennis – Eastbourne International – Devonshire Park Lawn Tennis Club, Eastbourne, Britain – June 21, 2022 Serena Williams of the U.S. celebrates winning her round of 16 doubles match with Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur against Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo and Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

EASTBOURNE, England— Serena Williams returned to tennis after a year away with a doubles win at the Eastbourne International on Tuesday and while the American great reaffirmed her love for the game she said her future on the circuit remains uncertain.

The 23-times major champion had not played competitive tennis since limping out of her first-round match at last year’s Wimbledon in tears due to a leg injury, and the 40-year-old said there were times when she doubted she would ever compete again.

However, Williams, who has won seven Wimbledon singles titles, took a wildcard for the grasscourt major and kicked off her preparations with a doubles win with Tunisian Ons Jabeur.

“You know what, I’m literally taking it one day at a time,” Williams told reporters about her plans, saying she “absolutely” had moments of doubt about returning to the Tour.

“I really took my time with my hamstring injury so I’m just not making a ton of decisions after this.”

Williams won the last of her 23 Grand Slam titles at the 2017 Australian Open and remains one shy of equalling Margaret Court’s record for the most major titles.

She reached the final at four majors since returning to the Tour after giving birth to daughter Olympia in 2017 but lost in straight sets on each occasion.

Speculation about retirement gathered pace when Williams, who has slipped down the rankings to number 1,204, released her long-time coach Patrick Mouratoglou in April to train Romania’s Simona Halep.

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Asked if she saw herself playing into the next year, Williams said: “I don’t know, I can’t answer that.

“But I love tennis and I love playing, or else I wouldn’t be out here, right?

“But I also love what I do off the court, what I’ve built with Serena Ventures, it’s interesting.”

The Wimbledon main draw kicks off on Monday.

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Exclusive: Dalot's ready to roll – TalkOfNews.com

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United Daily | Diogo Dalot on pre-season, David May’s favourite goal, and a classic tour clip that ends up in the bin…

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Exclusive: The 30-year Origin hoodoo haunting New South Wales – TalkOfNews.com

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It’s almost 30 years since a Blues team came back to win a State of Origin series after losing the opener in Sydney, but two stars of that memorable NSW team of 1994 have laid down a blueprint for Brad Fittler’s men to follow.

Brilliant fullback Tim Brasher and giant back-rower Paul Sironen admitted things looked bleak for the Blues when Mark Coyne scored the famous last-minute try to win the Queenslanders an epic Game One that series.

“I know how this team feels – because it’s the same way we felt back in ’94,” Sironen, now a member of the Blues’ management team, told Wide World of Sports from Perth.

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“When you have game one at home you just have to win it – and we blew it.

“We didn’t play as well as we could have and we didn’t execute the way we trained and we knew we were really going to be up against it for the rest of the series.

“But what we did was turn that to our advantage by using that frustration, disappointment and anger at ourselves to spur us on.

“We levelled the series in Melbourne and it then all came down to the decider in Brisbane.”

Brasher has vivid memories of the lead-up to the all-important third match at Lang Park.

“Everyone was telling us about Lang Park being the cauldron and how we would cop it up there and I must admit I wasn’t all that confident in the week leading up to the game,” Brasher said.

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“But then on game night, as our team bus went down Caxton Street and they came out of the pub and shook the bus and threw bottles at us, I think that actually did us a favour.

“It galvanised us, gave us a siege mentality and we were determined to go all the way.”

The Blues won the decider 27-12, with a young Brad Fittler playing in the centres.

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Exclusive: Playing minus two starters, Magnolia routs Phoenix – TalkOfNews.com

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Playing minus two starters, Magnolia routs Phoenix

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Magnolia’s Jio Jalalon (second from right) splits the Phoenix defense to finish in double figures. —PBA IMAGES

Magnolia did the math and figured a few people short did not exactly mean a disadvantage in manpower.

“Coach told us that there are only five of us on the floor at a time, so it doesn’t matter if we’re missing some of our key players,” said veteran playmaker Mark Barroca, who keyed a 95-77 rout of Phoenix on Friday in the PBA Philippine Cup at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

“As long as the five on the floor is solid, we’ll be fine,” added Barroca, who finished with 21 points, five rebounds and six assists to help the Hotshots fill the void left by Paul Lee and Calvin Abueva.

Magnolia also drew double-digit outings from Aris Dionisio, Jio Jalalon, Jackson Corpuz and Ian Sangalang to bury the Fuel Masters in holes as deep as 27 points on the way to rising to 3-3 (win-loss).

And that was exactly what the doctor ordered, according to Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero.

“We talked about it before the game—that we’re now in the middle of the tournament,” he said. “It’s time to level up our game, level up our execution, our being smart. That’s why we had a good start.”

Magnolia—finalist of last year’s all-Filipino conference—came out the gates hard, using an 11-0 run to open the contest and take the wind out of Phoenix’s sails early despite the absence of its key starters. Lee was out of the game due to a back problem while Abueva was serving his one-game suspension for his behavior in a victory over Barangay Ginebra last week.

Also out for the Hotshots was backup guard Jerrick Ahanmisi.

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“Hopefully, before the elimination round ends, we are able to be complete. That’s only going to improve our run,” said Victolero.

Javee Mocon led Phoenix with 19 points while Sean Manganti added 11 as the Fuel Masters dropped to 2-3.

Later in the night, Barangay Ginebra got 20 points and 10 rebounds from Christian Standhardinger to stop San Miguel Beer, 75-72.

The Gin Kings hiked their record to 4-1 while dealing the Beermen their first loss in four games this conference.


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