Serena Williams: I thought I was on my death bed

Williams lifts lid on traumatic experience she endured when taken to hospital with blood clot on her lung

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Former world No1 Serena Williams has revealed the terrifying ordeal she experienced when she was taken to hospital with a blood clot on her lung, saying she feared she was on her “death bed”.

The 29-year-old American has not played since winning her fourth Wimbledon title last summer after requiring surgery as a result of cutting her foot when leaving a restaurant.

The four-times SW19 champion was then hospitalised with a pulmonary embolism in March, which she believes developed due to having to wear a cast for 20 weeks to protect her foot.

Williams, who has won 13 Grand Slams, returns to action on Tuesday in the Aegon International in Eastbourne, but she admits that her recent health scares are still playing on her mind.

“I was on my death bed at one point – quite literally. I’ve had a serious illness but at first I didn’t appreciate that,” said Williams, who is now down at No25 in the rankings.

“At first people said it would be fine, it would be all right but it turned out to be a lot more serious. If it had been left two days later it could have been career-ending – or even worse. They told me I had several blood clots in both lungs. A lot of people die from that.

“It got to the stage where it felt like I could hardly breathe. Some days I didn’t get out of bed at all. I just laid on a couch thinking why has this happened to me?

“The second surgery was tough, more mentally tough than a lot of things I’ve been through including my sister dying.

“It’s why this is a comeback that’s totally different from any other comeback.

“Because this has given me a whole new perspective on life and my career – and not taking anything for granted. I’m just taking one day at a time. I’m not preparing for today or for Wimbledon. I’m preparing for the rest of my career.”

She added: “I’m so excited to be back playing. I’m not quite sure how I’ll feel until I play a match. I’ve been hitting seriously for about a month now but before that I was not hitting every day.

“I wanted to play at Roland Garros but that didn’t work out.

“I don’t usually play warm-ups for Wimbledon but I figured it would be smart to do so this time and what better place to come to for that than Eastbourne.

“I’m just here to do the best I can but I’m also here not to lose.”

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