Serena Williams is set to make her long-awaited return from, having not played since winning her fourth crown at Wimbledon last year after badly cutting her foot while coming out of a German restaurant.

Williams, 29, was then laid up with blood clots on her lung, which she believes developed due to having to wear a cast for 20 weeks to protect her foot.

But she is mounting her comeback a week before the third grand slam of the year at the All England club and is bringing a new perspective with her.

“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,” she said ahead of her return match against Tsvetana Pironkova.

“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?

Williams, who is now down at number 25 in the world rankings, returned to the practice court last month but concedes she has no idea how she will fare when she returns to WTA Tour competition.

“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.”