After a year without playing a singles tournament, Serena Williams missed her return to the circuit: at 40, the American was beaten Tuesday by the French Harmony Tan (115th) 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (10/7) in 3:11 in the first round of Wimbledon. Seven-time Major champion on grass and ex-undisputed world number 1, Serena Williams, down to 1,204th in the world, had received an invitation to enter the main draw.

Last year, she left the Center Court during the match, victim of a thigh injury. Tuesday, back on this same court, she went after a disjointed match at the end of which she bowed. Sometimes borrowed, not always well placed, even a little lost on the court, not knowing whether to move forward or back, not always sure of herself or her shots, she was unable to impose over the length of the match his powerful and intimidating game which made his strength.

She did scream loudly in an attempt to relieve the obviously enormous pressure on her shoulders, but there was too much waste in her game (54 unforced errors against 28 for her opponent). So she sometimes resorted to attempts at intimidation, with particularly theatrical demonstrations on a few key points like the one that gave her the break and the possibility of serving for the match in the third set. But in vain.

In front, Tan, 24, made him run as much as possible, forwards, backwards, sideways. Williams, visibly short physically, finished exhausted while the Frenchwoman, who was participating in her first Wimbledon, couldn’t believe it. “I’m so moved I can’t find the words… She’s a superstar, I’ve watched her on TV so many times that my first Wimbledon is… wow!” Tan commented.