Players welcome return of Venus and Serena

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EASTBOURNE, England (AP) -- The return of Venus and Serena Williams has been widely welcomed by tennis fans, and with Wimbledon just around the corner, their fellow players insist they feel the same way.

The sisters have combined to win nine of 11 Wimbledon titles between them. Their arrival in Eastbourne this week is understandably the talk of the town. Serena, a 13-time grand slam champion, is playing for the first time in nearly a year, and Venus is returning after a five-month layoff.

Vera Zvonareva, the top seed at Eastbourne, says the sisters "deserve the attention they get, because they're great champions."

Francesca Schiavone acknowledges their return makes it "tough for everybody, but it's interesting because when you play with the big athletes, personally I like the fight, to give the best to win."