The last time Serena Williams steeped onto a tournament court was for the 2017 Australia Open last January.
She won, of course, and went on to shock fans when she revealed she was in the early stages of her pregnancy with her newborn baby, daughter Alexis Jr. during the match.
This week, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden was set for her return to the game.
The BBC reports that she was given a standing ovation as she walked onto the court.The crowd was flooded with signs and shouts of encouragement. Not to mention, Serena is a Cali native, raised in Compton since the age of the 3, proof of the “Welcome back!” chants.
The former world number one tennis champ won her first singles match in nearly 14 months. The new mother defeated Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas.
“I’m a little rusty but it doesn’t matter,” said Serena Williams. “It definitely wasn’t easy but it was good.”
“It’s been over a year, and a kid later, and I get to go home now to her, and I’m excited about that,” she told the Los Angeles Times.
Hubby Alexis Ohanian, Reddit co-founder, was also present and courtside with Serena’s other family and friends cheering her on.
Preparing to return
Serena Williams had been planning her return for some time and shared on the morning of the match it just how far she’s come and her excitement for it all.
“It’s official. My comeback is here,” Williams wrote on Instagram Thursday “I will start playing tennis again professionally for the first time since giving birth to my daughter. This whole month I am playing tournaments in California and Florida—both my home states.”
“Thursday, the day I play my very first match, marks international women’s day,” she added. “My comeback could not have come on a better day..”
Although Williams was ready to return, she had been enjoying her time off too. Plus, she got the greatest push present of all time!
The new mom and tennis titan was beaming after driving by four huge billboards on her way to Palm Springs, each with a special message of love and support from her new hubby. The billboards outline the love the couple share along with their 5-month-old baby girl.
Williams posted: “I’m so fortunate to have @alexisohanian and @olympiaohanian by my side for my comeback. I love my surprise so much from them. I feel so special. Love you both.”