But it turned out that's all that was — a rumor: The All England Club wound up announcing it would provide a record total of about 40 million pounds ($50 million) in player compensation.
There are other important names staying away for different reasons.
Reigning women's champion Ash Barty retired in March at age 25. Eight-time men's champion
Roger Federer still has not returned from the latest in a series of knee operations; he has not participated in any tournament since last year's Wimbledon. No. 2-ranked Alexander Zverev is sidelined after tearing ligaments in his right ankle at the French Open.
Also gone in 2022 at Wimbledon, for the first time in its lengthy history: a scheduled day off on the middle Sunday (so what had been a 13-day tournament becomes a full two-week event).
Ah, but guess who's back? Yes, Williams,
thanks to a wild-card invitation, bringing enough star power to fill the spotlight for however long she remains in the bracket.
owner of seven championships at the All England Club — and 23 from all majors, a record for the professional era — last competed in singles in June 2021, when she slipped on the slick Centre Court grass and injured her right hamstring, forcing her to stop in the first set of her first-round match.
"I didn't retire. I just needed to heal physically, mentally. And I had no plans, to be honest. I just didn't know when I would come back. I didn't know how I would come back," Williams said Saturday. "Obviously, Wimbledon is such a great place to be, and it just kind of worked out."
She made a surprise appearance in doubles with Ons Jabeur on grass at Eastbourne this week, but the 40-year-old American will not have played singles before Tuesday's matchup against 113th-ranked Harmony Tan.
If Williams can crank up her best-in-the-game serve and move well enough to stay in points until she can end them with her stinging groundstrokes, who knows what she'll be able to do? Plus, she has made a habit of winning matches soon after returning from lengthy absences.
Also around is
Rafael Nadal, who is halfway to a calendar-year Grand Slam for the first time after winning the Australian Open in January and the French Open this month. The latter title, his 14th in Paris and men's-best 22nd at a major, came despite chronic pain in his left foot, which made the 36-year-old Spaniard question whether he could be at the All England Club — or continue at all.