Serena Williams announced a shock return after almost one year out of the game earlier this month. The American tennis great confirmed her participation at the Wimbledon Championships that will get underway on June 27.

The 23-time women's singles Grand Slam champion has not played competitively since suffering an injury at last year's championships at SW19. Her former hitting partner, Karolina Pliskova, feels it will be difficult for Williams to get back to winning ways.

The 40-year-old veteran has been on a mission to win her 24th major title and equal Margaret Court's all-time Grand Slam haul. Williams has made four finals since winning her 23rd title, but fell short at the final hurdle on all four occasions.

Serena Williams
The end: Serena Williams reacts as she withdraws from her first round match against Belarus's Aliaksandra Sasnovich Adrian DENNIS/AFP

Pliskova, who made the finals at Wimbledon last year, has shot down suggestions that Williams will be a title contender at SW19 this year. She feels the American's age and lack of competitive play will make it hard.

Williams' comeback will begin at Eastbourne, where she is slated to partner Ons Jabeur in the doubles. Pliskova feels the time away from the singles court will be a factor, but the Czech Republic star was also full of praise for Williams' illustrious career on the WTA Tour.

"I don't know how long it has been since she has played. Has it been a year? It is a long time and she is not the youngest anymore so I suppose the body also takes some time to get back into shape," Pliskova said, as quoted on the Irish Independent.

"I think it will be difficult, super difficult for her no matter which kind of player she is because this is a thing where you still need some time."

"But of course, she is an amazing player, she achieved so much and still a number of players will be super scared to play her. This is her advantage but let's see the level. I cannot really say," she added.

WTA number one Iga Swiatek is expected to start the tournament as the favourite to claim her third major title of 2022. The Polish sensation beat Williams' record of 34 consecutive wins during her run to the French Open title earlier this month.

Karolina Pliskova
Czech Karolina Pliskova hits a backhand return to Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil during their third round match at the WTA Indian Wells tournament in California Frederic J. BROWN/AFP