Former world number one Serena Williams says she is still a “little rusty” after marking her return to competitive action with a win in the first round at Indian Wells.
Williams won the 2017 Australian Open – taking her Grand Slam total to 23 – but that would be the last time she would be seen on the court for some time as she confirmed she was pregnant.
The American played alongside older sister Venus in a Fed Cup doubles match last month but the duo went down in straight sets to the Netherlands duo of Demi Schuurs and Lesley Kerkhove.
Getting back to full fitness has not been as easy as the 36-year-old may have thought but, after nearly 14 months on the sidelines, she made her comeback in a WTA Tour event.
Williams recorded a 7-5 6-3 victory over Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas at Indian Wells and the US star says it was fantastic to get back into the swing of things.
“I’m a little rusty but it doesn’t matter,” she said.
“It definitely wasn’t easy but it was good. It was incredible. It’s been over a year and a kid later. I’m just out here on this journey doing the best I can.”
Williams has set up a second-round match with 29th-seeded Dutch player Kiki Bertens and there is a possibility the American could face up against sister Venus in the third stage of the competition.
The older sibling goes up against Sorana Cîrstea in round two and victory for both of the Williams sisters would see them go head-to-head in the third round.