But now, just six months on from the terror of suffering a pulmonary embolism during the birth of daughter Alexis Olympia, she will return in a first-round night match against Zarina Diyas.
Mixing 27 unforced errors with 34 winners, it was far from easy for the unseeded Williams on the slow hardcourt in Indian Wells.
Maybe on clay [because] it's her weakest surface.
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Former world number one Serena Williams won her first singles match on the WTA Tour for almost 14 months as she returned after the birth of her child. "I'm just out here on this journey and doing the best I can".
"It is something I have thought about and I would like to keep thinking about it". Navratilova further added that Serena's game style is something that will help her get back to the top.
Serena also admitted that her first five months of motherhood has been "amazing", as she says that being a parent comes "naturally" to her.
In an Instagram post, an excited Serena said that she wold start playing professionally for the first time since giving birth to her daughter. She blistered her second serve down the line, and went on to win the point and the ensuing one to stay on serve.
Aside from a doubles rubber in Fed Cup and an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi in January, Williams has not played since winning her 23rd Major at the Australian Open 14 months ago.
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Williams, a victor of 23 Grand Slam titles, is in the same quarter of the draw as older sister Venus.
Williams has built two schools in Kenya through The Serena Williams Fund.
The tennis pro is opening up about her family life.
News of Serena's possible visit to Kenya has elicited excitement and Tennis Kenya secretary Wanjiru Mbugua said it could not have come at a better time.
But Diyas answered back, and after four total break attempts, she scored a break on Williams, who hit multiple backhand errors in the game.
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Williams missed this year's Australian Open because she did not consider herself ready for the tournament.