Published: Wed, March 07, 2018
Sports | By Toni Houston

Serena Williams to make WTA Tour return at Indian Wells on Thursday

Serena Williams to make WTA Tour return at Indian Wells on Thursday

Williams, a victor of 23 grand slams - a record in the Open Era - is set to be back in a WTA tournament for the first time in over a year at Indian Wells, as she bids to build up her playing time ahead of the French Open and Wimbledon.

The 36-year-old brushed aside second seed Grigor Dimitrov to win his third title at the Rotterdam Open last month, having already been confirmed as the oldest world number one in history as a result of reaching the quarter-finals in the Netherlands.

"Serena's target will be to win grand slams".

Bartoli, who was forced to pull out of an exhibition event at Wimbledon a year ago because of a mystery virus and dramatic weight loss, has said she was targeting a return to the WTA Tour at the Miami Open later this month.

'It's been really really hard but I keep going.

Mouratoglou said Williams' post-maternity return was probably "the biggest challenge" of her career.

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"But she's just so strong off the mark, she's not going to play unless she thinks she can win, that's why she pulled out of the Australian Open".

"I've always been an extremely motivated person, but my main thing is that I would love for my daughter to be around with me doing great, and playing incredible, so that definitely gives me some motivation", she added.

"My expectations, I don't know what they are", the 36-year-old American told the BBC.

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Sharapova won Indian Wells in 2006 and 2013, but because of her suspension, she hasn't been able to play here since 2015. "There have been so many days, even still, when I'm like, 'how am I going to keep going?'" The birth of Williams's daughter, Alexis Olympia, was followed by complications that scuppered the player's plans to defend her title in Melbourne. A couple of forehand winners and a service victor saw Williams take an 8-4 lead, and she finally finished it off with another winning serve.

"That would be nice because I was inspired by the likes of Tiger Woods, who had a foundation, Andre Agassi had his foundation, it definitely made me also start my own". I've always been an extremely motivated person. "I can see during practices the same determination, the same level of expectation", he said. Now she wants to break records again, and especially one.

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