With "no expectations," former World No.11 Sloane Stephens will play her first competitive match in nine months next week at Wimbledon, as the American has been sidelined since the Rio Olympics with a foot injury that required surgery.
Now ranked No.328, Stephens entered Wimbledon with a protected ranking, and also confirmed on Monday that she will play 11 matches for the Philadelphia Freedoms of Mylan World TeamTennis this summer as she looks to get more matches under her belt "consecutively" ahead of the summer hard court season.
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"I'm really looking forward to Wimbledon. It's just like any other comeback, I haven't played a tournament in nine months and am excited to just get going," Stephens said on a conference call on Monday. "I'm really looking forward to getting on the court, no matter where it is."
A former quarterfinalist at the All-England Club, Stephens made the third round of Wimbledon a year ago, where she fell in a marathon match to Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-7(1), 6-2, 8-6.
In her time away from tennis, Stephens did some on-air work for Tennis Channel this spring, including at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, where she was defending champion.
The former Australian Open semifinalist says she is keeping her expectations low as she'll step on the court for the first time in nine months at the All-England Club next week.
"It takes a village, and I've had a long time to prepare and get my schedule together," Stephens said. "It's going to be pretty demanding playing Wimbledon and then Mylan World TeamTennis, I think scheduling is going to be key. I really have to take care of my body and focus on recovery."
She added: "[I have] no expectations at all. I haven’t played in nine months, and I don’t expect anything great the first go-round, or second or third go-round. I’m going to have to be patient and just work my way back into it, but if a good result comes early, that’s just icing on the cake.”