London: Serena Williams will make her return to tennis after missing almost a year with injury and illness as she takes a wild card entry into next week's Eastbourne grass-court tournament, officials said on Tuesday.

A statement from her management released on Tuesday in the US said she will compete in the tournament on England's south coast which is one of the traditional grasscourt warm-up events for Wimbledon, which begins June 20.

Williams has not played on tour since winning her 13th Grand Slam singles title at the All England Club last July.

"I am so excited to be healthy enough to compete again,"

Williams said in the statement. "These past 12 months have been extremely tough and character building. I have so much to be grateful for. I'm thankful to my family, friends, and fans for all of their support.

"Serena's back!"

Shortly after her Wimbledon win last year, Williams cut her foot on glass at a restaurant in Germany. She played in an exhibition match in Belgium against Kim Clijsters days later.

But when she returned to the United States she had the first of two operations for the injury.

The second surgery was in October, and she said she spent 10 weeks in a cast and 10 weeks in a walking boot.

The 29-year-old American was then diagnosed in February with blood clots in her lung. After that, she said she needed treatment for a hematoma - a gathering of blood under the skin on her stomach.

She returned to practice in April, an event she announced via Twitter, posting a picture of herself on court in a pink bodysuit. Williams is a four-time Wimbledon champion - winning the event in 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2010 - and over 2002 and 2003 she won the four Grand Slam titles sequentially to claim what she termed the 'Serena Slam'.

(Agencies)