In Brief

Serena Williams: ‘If I’m not ready now, I never will be’

23-time Grand Slam winner returns to the WTA Tour this week at Indian Wells

Serena Williams says she is ready to make her first appearance on the WTA Tour since giving birth to her daughter in September. 

The 23-time Grand Slam winner makes her WTA Tour comeback in Indian Wells on Thursday when she faces Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas in the first round in California.

Williams warmed up for Indian Wells by playing in the Tie Break Tens event in New York where she reached the semi-finals. The 36-year-old told the BBC that it has been tough to return to tennis following the birth of her first child, but says she will go at a “turtle’s pace”.

“It’s been hard,” she said. “There have been so many days, even still, when I’m like, ‘how am I going to keep going?’ It’s been really, really difficult but I keep going and I know that I might not be at my best yet, but I’m getting there and every day is a new day and every day I should be getting better.

“As long as I’m moving forward, even if it’s at a turtle’s pace, then I’m OK with that.”

When asked about her current fitness levels, Williams added: “I’m ready, or else I wouldn’t be here. If I’m not ready now, I’m just never going to be ready. I feel in two months I’ll be way better than I am now, but you have to start somewhere. I don’t want to keep sitting on the sidelines and thinking about it.”

Venus Williams, who also played in the Tie Break Tens event, says that while her sister may be taking things slow, the talent is still there. Venus told ESPN: “She’s got power, depth. She knows how to play. Yeah, awesome game.” 

Meanwhile, Serena Williams’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou believes the American star will be ready to challenge for the French Open Grand Slam in May. With 23 Grand Slam singles titles, Williams remains one behind record holder Margaret Court who won 24 women’s singles slams from 1960 to 1973.

Mouratoglou told the WTA website that Williams won’t just be heading to Roland Garros to compete, she will be going there to win.

He said: “Serena’s target [for 2018] will be to win Grand Slams. She knows that coming back might take some time, but her level of expectation is high as always. There are three Grand Slams left this season. They will be her three main goals for 2018.” 

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