Serena Williams will play her first competitive match for 14 months on Thursday night, kicking off the late session at Indian Wells against Zarina Diyas. Last seen on court winning the Australian Open last year, she looks to carry on where she left off before the birth of daughter Alexis Olympia.
Check out the Serena vs Diyas Head to Head
Glimpses of Serena on court have been seen in exhibitions including a losing effort against Jelena Ostapenko in January. She also took part in the Tiebreak Tens event, beating Marion Bartoli before losing to Shuai Zhang in the event in New York. There’s no surprise that she looks incredibly rusty right now and may well need a number of matches under her belt before she looks anything like the superstar she is.
“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.” she said candidly about her mindset during this return. “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 definitely OK with that.”
The former World No.1 does not have a seeding, hence her start in the first round of the tournament. Diyas represents a very winnable match for her, when she may have been vulnerable against many others in the draw. She beat that Kazakh 2 and 0 when they met in 2015, Serena’s first year back after a long hiatus at Indian Wells.
Prediction – Serena Williams in straight sets