The Wimbledon draw is out and seven-time champion Serena Williams has received a favorable first-round matchup. In her return to Grand Slam competition, the tennis superstar will face 113th-ranked Harmony Tan of France, per ESPN.
Until her recent matches at Eastbourne, Serena had not played since injuring herself at last year’s Wimbledon. She received a wild-card into the 2022 tournament, which would normally force her into a first-round match against a higher-ranked player. However, Tan has never won a singles title and never played Wimbledon, while Serena is…Serena. There’s a very wide gap in experience. Not to mention, because she’s a former champion who is extremely popular, this match will probably take place on Center Court or Court 1, venues that can be intimidating for a first-timer.
Though the 23-time Grand Slam champion looked sharp in her two warm-up doubles matches, she’s still been away from singles competition for a year and should by no means take this opening round contest lightly. That being said, this could be a good start for her. After that, things get considerably more difficult, with a possible third-round meeting against No. 6 seed Karolina Pliskova, who is very good on grass.
While Serena tries to fight her way through ranked players, French Open finalist Coco Gauff starts her Wimbledon Championships against Romania’s Elena-Gabriela Ruse, currently No. 55 in the world, with a 13-12 record this year. Her first real challenge could come against the No. 20 seed, fellow American Amanda Anisimova in the third round.
After a strong performance at the French Open, Sloane Stephens begins her tournament against Chinese teenager Qinwen Zheng. If the 2017 US Open champion makes it out of the first round, she’ll likely face former Wimbledon champion, No. 6 seed Garbiñe Muguruza.
In the men’s draw, No. 23 seed, American Francis Tiafoe faces off with Italian qualifier Andrea Vavassori. If he plays well and picks up momentum, Francis could have a good run, as his section of the draw is wide open through the fourth round.
The 2022 Championships at Wimbledon begin Monday, June 27, airing live on ESPN Networks.