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Williams grateful to be back after blood clot health scare

Serena Williams is not making any promises as she returns to tennis following a year away due to injury and a serious health problem, with the one-time number one saying on Monday she is just glad to be back in the mix.

sports Updated: Jun 13, 2011 20:35 IST

Serena Williams is not making any promises as she returns to tennis following a year away due to injury and a serious health problem, with the one-time number one saying on Monday she is just glad to be back in the mix.

"I'm not preparing for today or for Wimbledon, I'm preparing for the rest of my career," said Williams, who entered on a wild card into the Wimbledon grass-court tune-up at Eastbourne on the English south coast.

"I'm just here to do the best I can and I'm here not to lose. So that s about it.

"I'm just taking everything one day at a time, and I'm not putting too much expectation on myself or on my game. Most of all I'm just happy to be in competition."

Williams now stands 25th in the world after last playing a match as she won Wimbledon last July.

A cut on her foot suffered while exiting a German restaurant just days later ended up requiring two surgeries, with the 13-time grand slam winner blaming 20 weeks in a walking cast for this year's blood clot problem in her lung which nearly ended her career and threatened her health.

"(Doctors) said I had clots in both lungs, a lot of people die from that because you don t recognise it," said Williams. "I couldn't breathe, I honestly just thought I was out of shape. So I thought I needed to get on the treadmill.

"They said it could have gotten a lot more serious a day later or two days later. It could have been really not good.

"It could have possibly been career-ending, but for the grace of God I got there in time and I was able to recover from it."

The 29-year-old praised her physio for sending her to hospital instead of a party that day in February, a decision which may have helped save the life of the champion.

Williams makes her Eastbourne start on Tuesday, opening in the first round against Tsvetana Pironbkova of Bulgaria.

"I'm really excited to be back, I really miss playing tennis, obviously. I'm thoroughly enjoying the short time that I've been back on the practise courts.

"It sucked, what I miss most is just being on top of the game and just playing some really good tennis and the challenges of all the players."

Williams is returning this week along with her elder sister Venus, with the number 32 not having played since an abdominal injury which forced her to quit an Australian Open third-round match last January.

Serena said that recovering at the same time as her sister has helped the close pair even more ability to bond.

"I feel like we've been on a similar road together, her road hasn't been as arduous or as long as mine, but I know what she's been through coming back from Australia," said Serena. "She never retires, and she had to retire.

"When you're down and someone's down with you, it kind of makes you feel a little bit better. We've been really enjoying our time just getting back together and practising next to her and looking over and seeing her play so well. I'm like okay, I've got to do better."

The younger Williams said she is more appreciative than ever of her career.

"This has given me a whole new perspective on my career and not taking things for granted. "There were times when I'm like, Oh! another match, and this is so hard.

"But now I'm out here and I could have had a chance where I could never be out here again.

"Being at the top of your game, having to have something like that happen randomly was it s tough, and it really makes me appreciate things."