Serena Williams played in her first competitive tennis match in a year as she teamed up with her elder sister Venus Williams in the doubles match against the Netherlands in a World Group first round clash at the Fed Cup on Sunday.
The former World No. 1 played in an exhibition match in December against the French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, which she lost and subsequently avoided the current year's Australian Open.
Mom's biggest cheerleaders! Serena Williams' husband, Alexis Ohanian, and their 5-month-old daughter, Alexis Olympia, rooted her on as she returned to professional tennis for the first time since giving birth. "I didn't manage my time well, but I was thinking about it, in the future, how to manage it better". I feel like that's a very good step in the right direction.' When asked to elaborate on what she felt she had to improve in her game, she noted, 'I'm always a 360 kind of person. "Honestly I like to think CoCo wore her down some. I've been training and it was just exciting to be out there", she said. "The pressure you feel, the incredible letdown every time you hear the baby cry".
But team captain Kathy Rinaldi confirmed her participation after sister Venus won her singles match against Richel Hogenkamp earlier to seal victory for the United States, 3-0. "It was hard. It was the first time for me". "So I feel like that I'm on the right track". They enjoyed enormous support over the weekend from the sold-out 5,200-capacity crowd in the mountainous city of Asheville, North Carolina, famous for its historic architecture, breweries and vibrant art scene.
The seven-time Grand Slam victor, who enjoyed a renaissance year in 2017, earlier shook off a scratchy start to prevail 7-5, 6-1 in her singles match, ensuring the USA could continue their defence of the title.
Serena was understandably far from her best in her return to competition but walked away feeling upbeat.