This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019

Serena: "Death bed" experience gave me a whole new perspective on life

Thirteen-time Grand Slam winner speaks candidly ahead of her return to action at Eastbourne today.

Image: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A LITTLE LESS than a year ago, Serena Williams tossed her racket high into the sky over Centre Court at the All-England Tennis Club, celebrating the thirteenth Grand Slam victory of her career.

Later on this afternoon at the AEGON Championships at Eastbourne, the 29-year-old makes her first return to the court since that 6-3 6-2 victory over Vera Zvonareva. This time, however, she has a whole set of priorities.

Already sidelined by foot injury, Williams discovered in March of this year that she had a pulmonary embolism – a series of blood clots in her lungs that she is only now coming to appreciate the seriousness of.

“I was on my death bed at one point – quite literally,” Williams bluntly told reporters yesterday.

“I’ve had a serious illness but at first I didn’t appreciate that. At first people said it would be fine, it would be all right but it turned out to be a lot more serious. If it had been left two days later it could have been career-ending – or even worse.

“They told me I had several blood clots in both lungs. A lot of people die from that.”

It got to the stage where it felt like I could hardly breathe. Some days I didn’t get out of bed at all. I just laid on a couch thinking why has this happened to me? The second surgery [on her lung] was tough, more mentally tough than a lot of things I’ve been through, including my sister dying.

Her opponent on the grass courts of Eastbourne today, Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova, is a tricky customer, ranked 34th in the world. As comeback matches and Wimbledon warm-ups go, Serena could have asked for a slightly easier first outing.

Given all that’s happened over the past 12 months, she’s happy just to be back playing again.

This has given me a whole new perspective on life and my career – and not taking anything for granted. I’m just taking one day at a time. I’m not preparing for today or for Wimbledon. I’m preparing for the rest of my career.

Read more at >

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article

About the author:

Niall Kelly

Read next: