Returning to Grand Slam tennis after a year away with health problems, Serena Williams opened her Wimbledon title defense today by beating Aravane Rezai in three sets—then burst into tears on Centre Court. After serving her 13th ace to close a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory, Williams buried her face in her towel and sobbed from her courtside chair. She was still crying as she left the court, overcome with emotion after enduring a long layoff that included two foot operations and treatment for blood clots in her lungs.
"I usually don't cry ... but it's just been so hard," the four-time Wimbledon champion said. "I never dreamt I would be here right now. And then to win. I just wanted to win at least one match here." Following Williams on Centre Court was Roger Federer, who began his chase for a record-equaling seventh Wimbledon championship by beating Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-2 in the wind. (Click to read more about the Williams injury saga or here for 10 reasons why Wimbledon is the best tennis tournament.)