Serena Williams hinted on Thursday she could return to action at Wimbledon after her long-time coach Patrick Mouratoglou announced he would work with Simona Halep on a “full-time” basis.
Williams, 40, has not played since retiring from her first-round match at Wimbledon last June with a torn right hamstring.
The future of the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion was shrouded in doubt following the news that Mouratoglou, her coach since 2012, would team up with Halep.
But she appeared to suggest she would compete at Wimbledon in an Instagram video featuring Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, posted backstage at a Bitcoin conference in Miami.
“We’ve been talking about my comeback and he’s been hyping me up and getting me ready for Wimbledon. Can’t wait!” said Williams.
Rodgers replied: “Wimbledon? What about the US Open?”
“Wimbledon is before the US Open! I have to play Wimbledon first!” responded Williams.
The American skipped the Australian Open earlier this year as she continued her recovery, and her ranking has plummeted to 246.
Williams has won 10 of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles since pairing up with Mouratoglou, who revealed she had given him permission to coach Halep, another former world number one.
“Excited for a new chapter. Let’s get to work,” tweeted Halep, a two-time Grand Slam champion who had been without a coach since splitting with Darren Cahill last September.
Mouratoglou said Halep had asked if he was available to coach her while training at his academy in southern France before flying to last month’s tournament at Indian Wells.
The Frenchman said it was “out of question at the time” given his commitment to Williams.
“A few weeks later, I had a conversation with Serena, and the door opened for me, at least short term, to work with someone else,” he said on social media.
Romanian Halep is currently ranked 20th. She rose to world number one for the first time in 2017 and won Roland Garros the following year and Wimbledon in 2019.