SERENA Williams is returning to centre court today in a doubles match in Eastbourne.

The 23-time grand-slam champion, who has not played professionally since she was injured at Wimbledon last year, will play alongside Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.

She stunned the tennis world last week when she announced a wild card had been awarded to her for Wimbledon, and that she would play at the doubles competition at the Rothesay International Eastbourne.

There had been rumours that the 40-year-old would retire from professional tennis following her 12-month absence.

The return of Williams has put fear in some of the best players on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour, with her partner Jabeur joking she would rather not face the seven-time Wimbledon singles champion at the third major of 2022.

Williams has appeared at the Eastbourne competition twice before, first in 1998 and most recently in 2011.

She has been practising at Meads Tennis Club in the town during the past few days ahead of her return to court at Devonshire Park - marking her first match in close to a year.

Four matches are due on Centre Court before Williams and Jabeur take to the grass, with their face-off against Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo and Marie Bouzkova from Czechia set to take place at around 6.30pm this evening.