After nearly a year away from tennis with a career-threatening injury, Serena Williams said today that her competitive spirit hasn't been diminished in the slightest. The 13-time Grand Slam champion will return to action tomorrow at the Eastbourne International after recovering from an injured ligament in her foot, which led to blood clots on her lung. While wearing sandals (to show off a new pedicure), Williams stepped on broken glass at a restaurant last year, shortly after winning her fourth Wimbledon title. The ligament damage to her foot required two bouts of surgery, 10 weeks in plaster and 10 weeks in a protective boot. But then in February, she was persuaded to go to hospital to investigate her breathing difficulties, rather than head to a party.
"I had several clots bilaterally, so in both lungs ... a lot of people die from that because you don't recognize it," she said. "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. Glad I didn't go to that party," she added. Finally fit, Serena joined sister Venus in entering Eastbourne, breaking with their normal tradition of preparing for Wimbledon at home in Florida. She was immediately installed as one of the favorites for Wimbledon, despite her lack of preparation. (Read more Serena Williams stories.)