PARIS, France - It was a little trickier than she should have liked, but three-time champion made a winning return to Grand Slam action, seeing off tricky lefty Kristyna Pliskova in straight sets to reach the second round of the French Open.
It wasn’t a perfect performance, but it was an encouraging start for the 23-time Grand Slam champion who is making her comeback just eight months after giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia.
“I feel like I'm on the right track,” Serena told press. “I have been putting a lot of work in on the court, off the court, on the court, on the court, off the court, that's kind of been my life. I have been really enjoying it.
“I think I'm serving pretty good, better than a few months ago. I definitely feel like I can still improve on that a great deal, like, my speed on my serve isn't as fast as I normally hit it, but also I didn't really try to hit it that much. I was going more for placement.
“But, you know me. I really feel like I can improve on literally everything, and that's the great thing, as I feel like I can improve and there is room for improvement, and that means I can get better.”
Currently ranked World No.451, it’s not the first time in her career that Serena has had to come back from scratch - but it is the first time she’ll be doing it with a baby in tow. Serena credits careful planning with the expert way in which she can divide her time between tennis and motherhood.
“I'm really fortunate enough that I can plan my days and I can plan, like, my career,” she said. “I feel like most moms don't have the opportunity that I do.
“I plan my day, like, training is X of time. Then I spend all this time with Olympia. And then if I need to train again, I have X time in training because of her nap schedules.
“I feel like in the beginning it was difficult to learn her nap schedules, even though she's never on schedule, but at least I know that for certain parts of the day I'm spending all that time with her, because I don't want her to ever feel like I'm not around. I'm a super hands-on mom. Maybe too much!”
While Serena has made it no secret that she’s back to challenge for the French Open title - and, eventually, the World No.1 ranking - she’s also admitted that her priorities aren’t just about tennis anymore.
“My priority is Olympia. No matter what, that's my priority. I have given tennis so much, and tennis has actually given me a lot, and I couldn't be more grateful. She's my priority, and I work everything around her.
“I want her to know that I really try to put her first in my life, along with God and my family. I really try to put that first in my life. I feel like everything else will fall into place, and it has. I feel like it's all going to work out.”